Monthly Archives: February 2017
The new Fat Tuesday tradition
I’m spending my second consecutive Mardi Gras day in Kansas City, specifically at Buffalo Wild Wings Zona Rosa.
The weather today is more like New Orleans. Temperatures in the mid-70s Fahrenheit (mid-20s Celsius) and high humidity. Of course, it’s 10 degrees warmer in New Orleans, which must feel like a sauna. I’m wearing shorts on February 28 in Kansas City. Ridiculous.
I’m fearing two things: (a) a brutally hot summer and (b) a terrible tornado season. I despise both.
I got to Kansas City just before midnight last night. I decided to go straight from Beloit rather than go back to Russell and come over today.
Good thing I came last night.
If I had waited until today, I might still be on the road now. Something I needed to get my work done wasn’t available until 10:30, and I wasn’t done with everything until noon.
I actually got some things done early this morning, and I didn’t go to bed until 2:40. I didn’t sleep as long as I should have, but I’m doing okay. I’ll make it up tomorrow night and Thursday night, when I don’t have anything going on.
Norton’s girls lost to Beloit 40-37 last night, ending the season for the Lady Bluejays. Norton trailed by as many as nine, but rallied and took the lead for the first time with 2:22 to go, but did not score again.
Caitlyn had a very good look at a 3-pointer from the right wing in the closing seconds, but it was off the mark. She’s done with basketball, but she still has track and field for Norton before going on to Johnson County Community College in Overland Park to play volleyball.
I didn’t stay to see her, but I did tell Peggy goodbye, which I didn’t do after the volleyball season ended in Lakin. I regret that one for many more reasons than cutting and running without saying anything. Had I stuck around, then the other things would not have happened.
How long I stay at Buffalo Wild Wings tonight is up for debate. I’m thinking about leaving after Robb and Dawn do to go to Minksy’s Pizza, but I’m also thinking about leaving early and just going back to the hotel to relax. I can’t eat meat either tomorrow or Friday with Lent starting in a few hours.
Had Norton won last night, I would be leaving Kansas City Thursday, since the Bluejays would have played at Russell. Now, I’ve got time to kill.
Random thoughts: Mardi Gras edition
It’s just another humdrum Tuesday in most of the United States, but in Louisiana–especially the southern part of the state–and southern Alabama, it’s Mardi Gras.
I grew up in New Orleans, so I know all about it all too well. I last went to a parade on Mardi Gras day 25 years ago. I do not want to recall it. It was dreadful. I hated the crowds, I hated having to wait on a hot and muggy day, and then the Rex parade itself was nothing to write home about.
There were Mardi Gras parades in the suburban community in which I lived until 1988. Then my family went to watch the Mardi Gras parade in a western suburb of New Orleans for three years. In 1991 and 1992, we went to watch the Rex parade on Napoleon Avenue.
I will never, ever forget being bullied at school the first day following the week-long Mardi Gras holiday. I was bullied by several people over what I wore. I will not go into detail about it, but it was not a costume. Maybe I should have worn a costume. I might have taken less grief.
I stopped going to parades altogether after graduating from high school. I went to the Krewe of Thoth in 1993 and 1994 because I knew several riders. When they saw me standing at the corner of Henry Clay and Tchoupitoulas (CHOP-i-TOO-las for those of you non-natives), they would bombard me with beads, doubloons (metal coins about the size of a silver dollar) and other trinkets. I would let some of the others standing there scoop up stuff, simply because I had no use for all of that crap.
Speaking of Thoth, it’s the only one of two parades in New Orleans proper which does not follow the traditional route from Napoleon to St. Charles Avenue. Thoth does roll down Napoleon to St. Charles Avenue, but takes a much longer to get there. It starts on Tchoupitoulas, heads west to Henry Clay, north on Henry Clay to Magazine Street, then Magazine to Napoleon. It is the longest Carnvial route in the city.
Thoth does this for a reason. It allows residents of several New Orleans facilities for the mentally and physically handicapped, as well as patients at Children’s Hospital, to see a parade.
The other parade which doesn’t follow the traditional route is Endymion, the super krewe which rolls in Mid-City the Saturday before Mardi Gras.
I don’t miss parades one bit. Not. One. Bit. And don’t ever ask me to go to the French Quarter. Not happening.
If you’re the adventurous type, then sure, it’s worth going to once. But keep in mind what might be permissible (not necessarily legal) in the French Quarter are HUGE NO-NOS on the parade routes. Do that on St. Charles Avenue and you’re going straight to jail. The parades are meant to be family friendly, and if you even think about doing it when young children are present, you’re asking for jail time and a large fine.
There used to be a parade on Mardi Gras evening. I said used to be, because the organization still exists, but it cannot parade due to a terrible New Orleans ordinance which has long since been declared unconstitutational by the United States Supreme Court.
In late 1991, a black New Orleans City Council member named Dorothy Mae Taylor introduced an ordinance which would require all Carnival organizations to list their membership, as well as prove they do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion or sex.
I don’t know how the heck the ordinance passed, but it did.
EVERY Carnvial krewe in New Orleans was opposed. EVERY ONE.
Zulu, the premier black krewe, admitted whites before the ordinance was passed, wanted to keep its krewe all-male. Bacchus and Endymion, the super krewes which always had a celebrity as grand marshal and/or monarch, wanted to stay all-male, too, even though like Zulu, they were racially desegregated.
The big problem came for the “old-line” krewes, which had been all-white, all-male and for the most part, all-Protestant since they wer formed.
Rex, King of Carnival, agreed to admit non-whites and non-Christians and have been parading non-stop.
Proteus, another old-line krewe, refused to acquiesce, but they still held their 1992 parade. They did not parade from 1993-99 before returning in 2000.
Sadly, two of the great old-line krewes, Momus and Comus, have not returned to the streets.
Why the hell should anyone care who is a member of a Mardi Gras krewe? If you don’t like the fact Comus is all-white and all-male, and mostly Protestant, STAY HOME.
Let me put it this way: Bill Gates cannot become a member of Comus. Donald Trump cannot become a member of Comus.
Simply put, if you are not born into the right family, you’re shit out of luck. That includes Archie Manning and his sons, Drew Brees and John Bel Edwards, the current Governor of Louisiana.
I could care less about not being able to join a Mardi Gras krewe. It’s not life or death. Let them choose whomever the hell they want to be a member. Why do politicians care? Crime is rampant in New Orleans, the public schools are horrendous, the city is broke, yet some want to tell Mardi Gras krewes which have been around since the 19th century who the hell can or can’t be in their club.
Dorothy Mae Taylor is dead. Sadly, Comus and Momus haven’t paraded since 1991. That has to change. I won’t be attending if and when Comus returns to the streets, but my native city will be a big winner.
Could Daytona 500 be about something else? Maybe
About an hour after I wrote yesterday’s post, I realized a funny moment relating to the Daytona 500.
During a 2005 episode of Fox’s great animated series, King of the Hill, Joseph Gribble tells his best friend, Bobby Hill, about a program called “Daytona 500”. Joseph says he thinks it’s about a “chick pouring champagne on a dude”. Bobby then asks “500 what? 500 bachelors? 500 dwarves?”, then exclaims, “Oh God, I’m so excited!”.
Bobby and Joseph have to find out the password to Hank and Peggy’s parental controls, since they have locked the Fox network outside of the NFL season. Bobby correctly guesses “propane” and unlocks Fox. The boys avoid detection by Luanne, Peggy’s niece, and they settle in to watch “Daytona 500”.
The boys find out it’s “just a bunch of cars going around in circles”. They are keenly disappointed until there’s a crash. The boys love it.
It was pretty funny for the boys to think Daytona 500 was a broadcast from spring break in Daytona Beach. If Daytona 500 were about spring break, I would have even less reason to watch than I do the race.
The episode where Bobby and Joseph watch the Daytona 500 features one of the most hilarious moments in King of the Hill history.
During the episode, Hank is pouring fresh concrete in his driveway. Bill, Dale and Boomhauer beg to help, and Hank agrees. Hank rents a jackhammer to tear up the driveway, and lets each of his pals use it. Instead of using the tool for its intended purpose, the guys try to “ride” the vibrating jackhammer.
Boomhauer lasts nine seconds before he is thrown into a bush, a reference to the eight seconds a rodeo cowboy attempts to last on a bucking bronc. When Bill tries, he immediately gets hit in the groin.
King of the Hill was one of my favorite shows. Still is. Of Fox’s animated shows, King of the Hill is a clear #1, followed by American Dad (which is now on TBS), then Family Guy a distant third. I watched The Simpsons early in its run, but haven’t in 20 years. I don’t miss it one bit. I haven’t taken to Bob’s Burgers, and I didn’t watch Futurama when it was on Fox.
I’m about to leave. Caitlyn is playing with her Norton teammates at Beloit. It’s the postseason, win or go home. Hopefully the Bluejays won’t be going home.
Two events, almost zero interest
The last Sunday of February.
It has meant two things, at least in recent years: the Daytona 500 and the Academy Awards.
I really don’t care much about NASCAR. Yes, I will look on the Internet to see who won the race, but don’t expect me to tune in for lap after lap after lap of driving around in an oval (or whatever the shape of the track is). The only races I feel that are worth tuning in for extended periods are the two on road courses (Sonoma and Watkins Glen), and the two at Pocono, since that track is so oddly shaped.
Growing up in Louisiana, there just wasn’t much interest in NASCAR. First, the Bayou State does not have a track, unlike most southern states.Alabama and the Carolinas are nuts about NASCAR. So are large swaths of Tennessee and Virginia.
Mississippi doesn’t have a track, but once you get east of Interstate 55, there isn’t much difference between Mississippi and Alabama, and if people in Alabama aren’t watching football, they’re probably watching NASCAR.
I’m surprised there is only one track in Texas, and that’s at Fort Worth. I would think a track at Houston or another metropolitan area–El Paso excluded–would do well.
When I do follow NASCAR, I want Chevrolet drivers to win, because I have driven only General Motors cars all my life. I’m also a fan of Joe Gibbs Racing, because I admire Gibbs’ coaching acumen with the Washington Redskins. Imagine if Gibbs had Tom Brady or another star quarterback throughout his tenure with the Redskins. Oh well, that’s another blog post for another day.
NASCAR isn’t high on my list, but it’s way, way above tennis and the Olympics, and probably above the NBA too.
I may not be too interested in NASCAR, but I’m a die-hard compared to my interest in the Academy Awards.
I have never watched a single minute of the Academy Awards. The only way I’m starting now is if I’m with a significant other on the couch. But since I’m not, NO.
I absolutely hate Buzztime trivia questions which focus on Academy Award winners. I don’t know. I could care less! I could name a very few Best Picture winners, but that’s it.
From 1972 through 1998, the Academy Awards were always presented on a Monday night, save for 1981, when President Reagan was shot by John Hinckley, and out of deference to the former president of the Screen Actor’s Guild, the ceremony was postponed one night.
Some of those Academy Award ceremonies clashed with the NCAA basketball championship. The first was in 1976, when Indiana completed its 32-0 season by defeating Michigan 86-68 in the final. When on stage to present an award, Elliott Gould quipped the winner was, “Indiana, 86-68”.
Bobby Knight’s Hoosiers won the 1987 championship over Syracuse at the same time the Academy Awards were being presented. The 1981 NCAA final between Indiana and North Carolina was originally scheduled to go head-to-head with the Oscars, but the game went on as scheduled and the Oscars did not when it was confirmed Reagan would survive.
In 2000, the Academy Awards were shifted to Sunday, where they’ve been ever since. And in 2004, the ceremonies were moved to the Sunday following the last Friday of February.
I have only one hope for this year’s Academy Awards.
Emma Stone had better be Best Actress!!!!!!!! If it’s Meryl Streep, I’m calling it a huge fix. Streep may have had great roles in the past, but if she wins this time, it will be because the Academy voters will want to hear her slander Donald Trump.
The Kansas State High School Activities Association state wrestling championships were this weekend.
I watched exactly zero seconds of coverage of the 3-2-1A tournament on Smoky Hills Public Television. I do not miss that event one bit. I have nothing against the wrestlers, the coaches, or the fans who attend, but I could care less. I’m better off not going.
Kansas is the ONLY STATE in the United States which holds its wrestling state championships at THREE different sites. I repeat, the ONLY STATE.
Missouri? Columbia. Nebraska? Omaha. Arkansas? Little Rock. Alabama? Huntsville. Louisiana? Shreveport (used to be New Orleans). Yet Kansas cannot get its act together.
It’s very sad. I’m sure Nathan Broeckelman, a two-time state champion wrestler at Norton who now coaches at Great Bend, would have loved to be able to see his alma mater win its fifth consecutive 3-2-1A championship. And I’m sure Nathan’s wife, Hannah (Mills), who went to Norton with Nathan, would have loved to see it to. But nope. the KSHSAA insists its silly format is the best.
Well, it’s basketball sub-state week. Another convoluted format.
I’m going to Beloit tomorrow night to watch Cailtyn and the Norton Lady Bluejays play the Trojans. I hope it is not Caitlyn’s last basketball game, but I know it will end sooner or later. I would just prefer it end in my hometown, or in Hutchinson at the state tournament.
Tuesday is Mardi Gras. I have to go to Kansas City. I don’t have to, but I need to. I haven’t seen Robb and Dawn in three weeks, and that’s the same with the crews at Buffalo Wild Wings and Minsky’s.
I stayed up until 4 a.m. today working on things to get ahead. I took a shower before getting a few hours of sleep. Worked out okay. Surprised I didn’t need a nap today. Maybe it’s the energy of knowing I see Caitlyn and Peggy tomorrow.
Now where do I end tomorrow? Back in Russell? Salina? Kansas City? There are pros and cons to each option. Russell I wouldn’t have to spend money on a hotel, but there’s the four-hour drive. Kansas City puts me there for Tuesday, but I’m looking at 11:30 to midnight before arriving. Salina gets me off the road sooner, but I still have to drive three hours.
If that’s the biggest decision I have to make for tomorrow, it can’t be bad.
Valentine’s Day: always a massacre for me
I haven’t posted this week. Maybe it was best I didn’t.
Especially Tuesday, which was Valentine’s Day.
I had work to occupy me during the morning Tuesday. Then I left to drive to Hoxie for Norton’s game that evening. I got to town a few minutes after 4, well before the tipoff at 6. Only the varsity games were going to be played at the high school; the junior varsity games were at the elementary school five blocks west of the high school, and there were no C team games, meaning I had a lot of time to wait and wait.
I was stupid enough to venture onto Facebook while I was sitting in my car. I got very, very upset at all the happy couples, reminding me of just how big of a loser I am. I decided to unfollow so many people.
I’ll never forget 2002. That year, someone I knew from LSU, Erika Papazoglakis Goulas, suggested I turn gay since I couldn’t find a woman. Nice.
Erika wasn’t the first. A lot of students at Brother Martin suggested I go gay. I hated going to high school for that reason, among many, many, many others.
I was very close to leaving Hoxie before the game. I was willing to admit I wasted the 108-mile trip there, and would go back without seeing any games. I called Crista in tears. I was very upset. She has not called me back. I am not happy about it. If I’m spending all this money, why bother wasting my time when she won’t get in touch with me when I need her?
I stayed through both games at Hoxie. Hoxie’s gym is pretty cramped, but the floor is nice and shiny, which is much better for taking photographs than in gyms which have yellow-tinted floors, which is what Norton has. Norton’s girls lost 60-42, but the boys won 79-52. I got back at 10:45, which is pretty good considering some nights have been after 11:30.
I got Caitlyn and Peggy cards and small boxes of chocolate for Valentine’s Day. I sent e-cards to Dawn and a few others. But no splurging like I did on Christmas cards.
I didn’t do anything Wednesday and barely anything Thursday. Frankly I was tired most of Wednesday. Thursday was a little better, but still not feeling up to getting out and about.
Norton is playing at Ellis tonight. After I get home, I have no earthly idea as to what I’m going to do for the weekend. I’m missing Kansas City and trivia, but I’m going to go back soon (hopefully). I don’t know about staying home all weekend, but I managed last weekend without much trouble.
Kansas high school wrestling regionals are today and tomorrow. I do not miss covering those one bit. Too many people, too little space, too much noise, too much chaos. I absolutely dreaded those tournaments.
Time for no NFL weekends
I’ve tried to avoid watching anything about the NFL in recent days. I need time away from it. It was non-stop NFL pretty much from late July when training camp began through last Sunday when the Patriots defeated the Falcons in Super Bowl LI. The draft combine begins the first weekend of March in Indianapolis, but I could not care less. Wake me when the draft is here.
Five Patriots have already said they would boycott the White House trip because they hate Donald Trump. It wouldn’t be the first time people have boycotted a White House trip just because they don’t like the particular president at the time.
I have no desire to go to the White House. None. If there’s any one building in Washington, D.C. I would visit, it would be the Capitol. The White House just doesn’t hold any appeal to me.
I got to Norton a few minutes ago and discovered I left my seat cushion at Buffalo Wild Wings in Kansas City Tuesday. Not the first time I’ve left something somewhere a long way away, and it won’t be the last. I can replace the cushion, it’s $20. It’s not one of the expensive gel cushions Bed, Bath and Beyond sells. I’ve been thinking about one of those.
Norton plays Plainville tonight. Last home game for the Bluejays until the regular season finale vs. Hill City on the 21st. I didn’t come to the games Tuesday vs. Oberlin because I was still in Kansas City. I didn’t miss much; Norton won both games easily.
Don’t know what I’m doing this weekend. Probably not much. If I intend on going to Hoxie to see Norton play Tuesday, I have to be done with my work by noon. Hoxie is about the same distance from Russell as it is to Norton, although not as much two-lane highway. I’ve never been to Hoxie, and I need to go. If it were somewhere else, I may have skipped, but not Hoxie, even though Shelly Hoyt, the girls coach who had so much success there, is now at Madison in Greenwood County.
One thing I don’t miss in February is not covering regional and state wrestling. It’s exciting, but I just would rather not deal with the crowds. It was always a very stressful time of the year for me. Last year, it wasn’t, and I need as much stress-free time as I can get.
Tom Brady, G.O.A.T.–if all-time is limited to the 21st Century (and even then maybe not)
For those who have been living under a rock the last 40 hours, Tom Brady won another Super Bowl Sunday.
He engineered the largest comeback in Super Bowl history, with the Patriots turning a 28-3 deficit to the Falcons into a 34-28 overtime victory in the first Super Bowl to go into overtime.
Brady won his fifth Super Bowl as the Patriots’ starting quarterback, breaking a tie with Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana, who won four each with the Steelers and 49ers, repetitively.
It did not take six seconds after James White scored the winning touchdown for people all over the Internet, both media and ordinary fans, to declare Thomas John Brady the greatest of all-time. Some not only said Brady was the greatest quarterback of all-time, but the greatest player to ever grace the Natoinal Football League, period.
Brady has won more Super Bowls than any other starting quarterback. That fact is incontrovertible.
I do not worship at the altar of Tom Brady. No way.
I refuse to call Brady the greatest of all-time. This has nothing to do with his role in Deflategate, the fact he abandoned a pregnant Bridget Moynihan so he could cavort with Gisele, the fact that Bill Belichick is a complete asshole.
The reason I refuse to call Brady the greatest of all time is because he plays in an NFL where the rules are heavily tilted towards the offense.
American sports fans want scoring in their games. That’s why basketball is wildly popular in the United States, yet it lags far, far behind in many other countries, especially those in Europe and Africa. That’s why the version of football with the round ball–the one called soccer in the United States and Canada–has never fully caught on in the U.S. and Canada, despite the presence of Major League Soccer.
In the first eight years of the 1970s, scoring in the NFL declined precipitously. Defenses were becoming more and more complex, with coaches rigging up zone defenses which were more than wiling to give up the underneath pass, but deny anything medium to long. Another rule which hindered the passing game was the bump and run, which allowed defenders to hit receivers anywhere on the field, just as long as it was from the front, and it did not occur while the pass was in the air.
In 1978, the NFL rules makers decided to change the rules drastically to help the passing game. Bump and run coverage was limited to within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage. Pass interference was to be called if there was any contact beyond five yards. Offensive linemen were allowed to use open hands and extended arms to pass block, a far cry from the previous rule, which forced linemen to keep the arms close to their chest and use their head and other parts of their body. The head slap, which Deacon Jones made famous when he was part of the Rams’ Fearsome Foursome in the ’60s, was outlawed.
Dan Fouts of the Chargers immediately began to take advantage, piloting “Air Coryell” to numerous NFL records, although San Diego never made it to the Super Bowl. Joe Montana came along and mastered Bill Walsh’s West Coast offense, leading the 49ers from 2-14 in 1978 and ’79 to the Super Bowl XVI championship in ’81. Dan Marino became the first quarterback to throw for 5,000 yards in 1984. John Elway used his mobility and strong arm to lead the Broncos to three AFC championships in the 1980s.
More and more, the rules have been geared towards the passing game, and a team is said to have “balance” when they “only” throw the ball 55 to 60 percent of the time. The running game has been replaced by dink-and-dunk passes, passes Johnny Unitas, Joe Namath, Fran Tarkenton and other Hall of Fame quarterbacks would never have dreamed of using.
There is my problem with Brady.
The Patriots have never had a strong running game during his time in New England. Brady has substituted the short pass for the run, and rang up high completion percentages that way.
I am not sure Brady would hold up if he had to play under the rules Unitas and his contemporaries had to deal with. I would like to see him throw to receivers who are being covered tighter than a glove.
Another reason as to why Brady keeps getting called the greatest of all time is people have a very short memory.
Read some books. Do some research. You’ll find there are many, many quarterbacks who measure up to Brady and then some.
For my money, Brady might not even be the best QB of the 21st century. I’d have to put Peyton Manning right up there.
I realize many people are going to hate me for this. Too bad.
Ghosts of Super Bowl routs past
Super Bowl LI kicks off in six hours and 20 minutes in Houston.
Why do I have the feeling this Super Bowl will be just like two involving the 49ers?
Super Bowl XXIV was the fourth played in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome (then the Louisiana Superdome). The 49ers came in as the defending champions and had mauled most of their competition during the season. San Francisco lost only two games by a combined total of five points (13-12 to the Rams, 21-17 to the Packers, who had their best season in the 19-year period from 1973 through 1991, but did not qualify for the playoffs). The 49ers were 8-0 on the road. They won their playoff games vs. the Vikings and Rams by a combined score of 71-16.
The Broncos were in the Super Bowl for the third time in four seasons. They were embarrassed by the Giants in XXI and the Redskins in XXII. They recovered from an 8-8 campaign in ’88 to go 11-5 in ’89, which got them home field advantage in a weak AFC. Denver’s defense was much improved from what it had been in 1986 and ’87, but it was still all about John Elway.
Unlike the 49ers, the Broncos had a tough time in the playoffs. They barely survived the wild card Steelers 24-23 in the divisional round, then pulled away to defeat the Browns 37-21 for the AFC championship, the third time in four seasons Denver and Cleveland met with a trip to
In the two weeks leading up to Super Bowl XXIV, there were only two players anyone cared about. One, Joe Montana, was going for his fourth Super Bowl ring in eight years. The other, John Elway, was on the verge of joining Fran Tarkenton as the only starting quarterbacks to go 0-3 in the Super Bowl.
Nobody outside Colorado gave the Broncos a chance. I’m sure many in Colorado didn’t, either.
Guess what? They were right.
San Francisco 55, Denver 10.
The game got so bad I turned it off at halftime. Yes, I turned off a Super Bowl at halftime, something I had not done since I started watching football reglulary in 1983.
Five years later, the 49ers were back in the Super Bowl. Steve Young, Montana’s backup for the 1988 and ’89 championships, was the NFL’s MVP, and he posted the highest quarterback rating in NFL history at that time. The 49ers went on a spending spree in the second year of free agency, and the first year of the salary cap, signing numerous high price veterans to rich contracts, including Deion Sanders, who played out his rookie contact with the Falcons and was looking desperately for a ring.
The 49ers started the year 3-2, losing to the Chiefs–led by Joe Montana, who was traded to Kansas City in April 1993–and the Eagles. The latter was an embarrassment, as Young was pulled late with the 49ers hopelessly behind. Philadelphia left San Francisco with a 40-8 victory.
After the loss to the Eagles, the 49ers won 10 straight before a meaningless loss in the regular season finale in Minnesota. In the playoffs, San Francisco destroyed Chicago 44-15, then took out two years of frustration against the Cowboys, spiking the Cowboys 38-28 for the NFC championship in a game which wasn’t that close.
San Francisco’s opponent in Super Bowl XXIX was another AFC West squad.
Going into 1994, the San Diego Chargers had never been to the Super Bowl. The Chargers lost back-to-back AFC championship games in 1980 to the Raiders and 1981 to the Bengals, the latter in Cincinnati when the temperature was 9 below zero with a wind chill of 37 below (reported as 59 below under the wind chill chart in use at the time).
The ’94 Chargers were a far cry of the Air Coryell days of the early 1980s, when Dan Fouts was throwing bombs all over the place to Kellen Winslow, Charlie Joiner, John Jefferson (early) and Wes Chandler (later). These Chargers preferred the ground game, led by Natrone Means, a bruising 240-pounder.
San Diego’s defense was good enough to win the AFC West, but it was shredded very badly by the 49ers in December. San Francisco won 38-15 at San Diego, and football experts proclaimed they did not want to see a rematch in Miami.
If the Dolphins and Steelers could have held playoff leads, then the Chargers-49ers rematch would never have materialized.
Miami held a 21-6 halftime lead in San Diego in the divisional round, only to fall 22-21. Less than one calendar year later, Don Shula was no longer coaching the Dolphins.
The Chargers then shocked the Steelers in Pittsburgh 17-13 for the AFC championship.
If nobody gave Denver a chance to beat San Francisco in Super Bowl XXIV, then absolutely nobody gave San Diego a shot.
It would have been better if the NFL had canceled the game and just given the 49ers the Vince Lombardi Trophy. It would have saved a lot of time and money.
The 49ers won 49-26, and it should have been far, far worse.
Even worse than the game was the way Frank Gifford drooled all over the public address microphone when he announced his wife would sing the national anthem.
1995 was a horrible year for me. Really horrible. That Super Bowl fit perfectly.
Man, I hope this Super Bowl isn’t a rout. But something tells me Thomas John Brady is a man on a mission, and he will destroy the Falcons, much the way John Elway did to Atlanta in Super Bowl XXXIII.
I’m sorry, TMP
If you read this blog between 5 pm and 8 pm Friday, you might have noticed the meanest, nastiest, most vile post I have ever blogged on Foots Prints.
I made highly inflammatory remarks about TMP-Marian High School, two ladies who coach athletic teams there, a former employee who worked at TMP for 20 years, and worst of all, some young ladies who attend school there.
I mentioned a young lady from another school, someone I care very deeply about. In that part, I said I felt sorry for her because she was friends with many girls from TMP, who probably thought I was some sort of sexual predator. I also made this assertion about the TMP volleyball coach as well.
All of the above statements I made in anger. I made them because I was higighly agitated, certainly for no good reason.
Of course, those statements were 100 percent false. I have not have the privilege of meeting any of the coaches or students in question. Therefore, they cannot make any assumptions about me, unless there is proof to the contrary.
I did not mean the lady I care so much about should not have friends from TMP. The ladies from TMP happen to be some of her best friends. Even though I did not mean it that way, it doesn’t excuse it.
I am very sorry I said what I did. The post has been deleted, but the damage is already done.
I’ve put about 39 hours and 290 miles between the site of the post, but I still feel very, very bad about it.
My therapist has told me time and time again that when I’m mad and want to blog something, to go ahead and do it, but do it privately. Do not post it. Or keep it in a private file which only I have access to.
The one lady I would do anything for told think before I post. If I’m angry, wait 24 hours before posting.
I wish I would have listened to these ladies. I didn’t, and I must pay the price.
I swear I will do all I can to never post something so hurtful again. I can’t promise I will bat 1.000, but I’m going to do all within my power to try.
Not-so-sweet 16 for the XFL
Three Super Bowls have been played previously February 3. Three teams I do not care much for won those three Super Bowls played: Patriots (vs. Rams, XXXVI), Giants (vs. Patriots, XLII, the game which denied New England its 19-0 season) and Ravens (vs. 49ers, XLVII).
Yet February 3 will also be remembered by some for the launch of one of the worst ideas in the history of sport.
I didn’t say it was the worst idea in the history of sport. The designated hitter and giving the league which wins Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game home field advantage in the World Series are and were far more ruinous. At least the latter of the above is no more.
But the XFL ranks right up there. Or should I say down there.
Yes, 16 years ago tonight, the XFL kicked off, with games in Las Vegas and Orlando.
The XFL was the brainchild of Dick Ebersol, Director of NBC Sports, and Vince McMahon, chairman of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), which was then known as the World Wrestling Federation (WWF).
Ebersol, who created Saturday Night Live in 1975, was deseprate to show professional football on the Peacock after it lost the rights to the AFC to CBS following the 1997 season.
Ebersol did himself in on losing the NFL. He spent ridiculous amounts of money to acquire the Olympics, Summer and Winter, for what seems like forever, although somehow the NBC rights deal currently expires after the 2032 Summer games. If he would have been smart enough to realize ABC and CBS had no desire whatsoever to televise the Olympics at any price, and thus NBC could have had them for far cheaper, the Peacock would never have lost the NFL.
Yet Ebersol wasn’t smart enough to see this, thus overpaid grossly for the Olympics, as well as handing over a handsome sum for the NBA, which was horrendous due to the number of very, very bad teams, as well as the dominance of the Bulls and Michael Jordan. Why watch when you know what’s going to happen?
Vince McMahon badly wanted football. He tried to buy the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts, but failed. He had planned to re-expand the CFL into the United States, an experiment which failed miserably in 1994 and 1995. When McMahon’s bid to buy the Argos failed, he opted to form a new league.
He found a more than willing partner in Ebersol, who felt putting the XFL on NBC would be his network’s ticket to total dominance. Even with Seinfeld off the air (THANK GOD) by this time, NBC still had The West Wing, Friends, E.R. and Frasier as the bulwarks of its primetime lineup. Yet NBC was losing ground steadily to CBS, which of course had the NFL once again, plus ABC still had the biggest prize in sports, Monday Night Football.
The league’s launch was announced February 3, 2000. The first games would kick off EXACTLY one year later, February 3, 2001.
The XFL promoted itself as “real” football where “pansies” were not going to make it. It touted new tough-guy rules, such as no fair catches and allowing bump-and-run pass coverage all over the field, which was the rule in the NFL until 1978, and is still allowed in college football, just as long as all hits come from the front.
The other part the XFL liked to promote was wholly inappropriate for family viewing.
It promoted sex appeal.
The cheerleaders wore next to nothing. They were ENCOURAGED to date the players and other team personnel, a strict no-no in the NFL. And there was talk of putting cameras in the cheerleader locker rooms.
What was this, football or the Playboy Channel? I don’t know if Hugh Hefner could have come up with something so brazen.
The nicknames were stupid.
Two of them glorified the mob and organized crime: the Chicago Enforcers (a nod to Al Capone) and the New York-New Jersey Hitmen (ostensibly honoring John Gotti and the numerous mafia members in those states). PUKE.
The Memphis Maniax had a man with cyclone eyes, something akin to the Mr. Pibb logo with the crazy man head.
The Birmingham team was originally going to be called the “Blast”, but some felt that name was too graphic, given the 1963 church bombing which killed four black girls. The name became the Thunderbolts, shortened to Bolts.
Players were encouraged to wear nicknames.
And that created the league’s iconic player, Rod “He Hate Me” Smart of the Las Vegas Outlaws. Smart went on to play for the Panthers, including their Super Bowl XXXVIII team which lost to the Patriots.
Gerry DiNardo, the former LSU coach who coached the Bolts, forbid his players from wearing nicknames. DiNardo would go on to coach three (terrible) seasons at Indiana before he was fired there, too. He has not coached since. Today, he’s an analyst for the Big Ten Network, where DiNardo is simply fantastic.
I haven’t even gotten to the worst part of the XFL.
The football itself.
To say it was terrible would be understating the case just a wee bit.
It was beyond awful.
These were supposedly “professional” football players, being paid (not much, admittedly) to play the game. The winning teams would receive a bonus to be split amongst team members.
Yet the worst part of the football itself was not the games.
It happened before the game.
The scramble, the XFL’s version of the coin toss.
One player from each team would line up at the 20-yard line and sprint towards midfield on the referee’s whistle. The player which gained possession of the ball would have the option to kick or receive to begin the game, and would have the option to play offense or defense first if the game went to overtime (the XFL used a modified version of the college overtime, which I’ll explain below).
One of the first participants in the scramble, Hamad Shasmid-Deen of the Orlando Rage, suffered a season-ending shoulder injury. More than half the players who participated in the scramble were injured at some point, and many of those injuries were serious.
The referee in the first game at Las Vegas, Randy Christal, has officiated many high profile college games, including the 1996 and 2002 national championship games, and the Rose Bowl between USC and Northwestern following the ’95 season. Why Christal, who also was an umpire at many a College World Series during the 1980s and 1990s, would lower himself to the XFL is beyond me.
When Christal explained the scramble over the microphone in Las Vegas on opening night, I had a feeling he would have rather been in a dentist chair getting a root canal without anesthesia, even if it was 5 p.m.on a Saturday evening.
Teams could not kick an extra point in the XFL. It was a play from the 2-yard line, worth one point only. Later in the season, the XFL allowed teams to score two points if it was successful from the 5-yard line, and three points for a successful conversion from the 10-yard line.
Overtime was also very dumb.
It was the NCAA version, which I dislike, although not as much as the high school version (in most states; Massachusetts, Missouri, Texas and a few others excepted).
In the XFL, a team had four downs from the 25-yard line to score. However, if a team scored a touchdown in fewer than four downs, the other team had only that many downs to match the touchdown. A field goal could not be attempted until fourth down. And again, no kicking extra points.
Good idea, but of course, the whole concept of overtime in college and high school is very dumb to begin with, so no way.
I happened to watch part of the first XFL game on NBC, New York-New Jersey and Las Vegas. I only watched it because I was at Ivar’s when the game kicked off, and it was the only thing on. When I left Ivar’s, I wasn’t about to turn the game on at my apartment.
Not once did I tune in to an XFL game from my apartment (or hotel room in one case).
During the second week of the XFL, the game NBC was televising from Los Angeles was interrupted due to a power failure. Worse, NBC’s television trucks were totally shut down since there was no gas in the generators fueling the trucks. Not only that, the game went to double overtime, forcing a very late start to Saturday Night Live, which was hosted that night by Jennifer Lopez. Lorne Michaels, SNL’s Executive Producer, was all over Dick Ebersol worse than ugly on an ape. Most of that conversation is not printable.
After that fiasco, NBC forced the XFL to adopt speed-up rules to ensure no game would cut into SNL’s
When the XFL announced on May 10, 2001 that it was shutting down forever, I hardly shed a tear. Good riddance.
Last night, ESPN premiered a new 30 for 30 documentary on the XFL. It reminded me of just how bad it was.
I have an acronym for the XFL. eXtremely (expletive) up League.
I admit I watched McMahon’s wrestling in the 1980s. My brother and I were huge fans. We went with my dad to a few shows in New Orleans.
But McMahon’s football venture? I’m glad there wasn’t a team in New Orleans. It would have been tempting. I’m glad I watched (or didn’t) from a very safe distance.