Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Podcast:Special Guest Ian McArdle

The podcast returns with special guest Ian McArdle as we look back at the 2016 season for Ohio State as well as the future in Columbus..

Monday, January 30, 2017

TRS Boxing Ratings-Part Two

We return with part two of the boxing ratings.
Please note that the voting took place before the fights of 1/28....

Lightweights
1) Jorge Linares WBA Champ 15 pts
2) Dejan Zlatcanin WBC Champ 11 pts
3) Terry Flanagan WBO Champ 8 pts
4) Mikey Garcia 5 pts (Unranked)
5) Robert Easter IBF Champ 4 pts
Also received votes;Rances Barthelemy, Anthony Crolla

Junior Lightweights
1) Vasyl Lomachenko WBO Champ 15 pts
2) Francisco Vargas WBC Champ 12 pts
3) Gervonta Davis IBF Champ 8 pts (Unranked)
4) Jezreel Corrales WBA Champ 4 pts (Down One)
     Takashi Muira
Also received votes:Orlando Salido

Featherweights
1) Carl Frampton WBA Champ 15 pts
2) Leo Santa Cruz 11 pts
3) Gary Russell WBC Champ 8 pts
     Oscar Valdez WBO Champ (Down One)
5) Abner Mares 2 pts
Also received votes:Jesus Cuellar

Junior Featherweights
1) Guillermo Rigondeaux WBA Champ 15 pts
2) Jesse Magdaleno WBO Champ 12 pts (Unranked)
3) Nonito Donaire 8 pts (Down One)
4) Moises Flores 5 pts (Unranked)
5) Scott Quigg 2 pts (Down Two)
    Hugo Ruiz
Also received votes: Julio Ceja

Bantanweights
1) Shinsuke Yamanaka WBC Champ 15 pts
2) Rau'Shee Warren WBA Champ 12 pts
3) Juan Carlos Payano 8 pts
4) Lee Haskins IBF Champ 4 pts (Down One)
5) Zhanat Zhakiyanov 3 pts (Unranked)
Also received votes: Anselmo Moreno,Libarado Solis

Junior Bantamweights
1: Roman Gonzalez WBC Champ 14 pts (Up One)
2: Naoya Inoue WBO Champ 13 pts (Down One)
3: Carlos Cuadras 9 pts
4: Khalid Yafai WBA Champ 6 pts (Unranked)
5) Juan Francisco Estrada 1 pt (Down One)
    Omar Narvaez (Unranked)
    Sriasket Rungvisai (Unranked)

Flyweights/Under
1) Kazuto Ioka WBA Champ 15 pts
2) Donnie Nietes 11 pts (Up One)
3) Johnriel Casimero IBF Champ 9 (Down One)
4) Amrat Reuenroung 4 pts
5) Noknoi Sithprasert 3 pts (Unranked)
Also received votes: Zou Shiming WBO Champ


Sunday, January 29, 2017

TRS Boxing Ratings-Part One

The TRS ratings are a little late this time,but better late than never!
Thanks to Ramon Malpica and Vincent Samano for the help with this project as always!!

Heavyweights
1) Anthony Joshua IBF Champ 15 pts (Up One)
2) Luis Ortiz 11 pts (Down One)
3) Deontay Wilder WBC Champ 9 pts
4) Wladimir Klitschko 7 pts
5) Joseph Parker WBO Champ 3 pts

Cruiserweights
1) Olesander Usyk WBO Champ 14 pts
2) Murat Gassiev IBF Champ 13 pts (Up Four)
3) Denis LeBedev WBA Champ 8 pts (Down One)
4) Krysztof Glowacki 6 pts (Down One)
5) Marco Huck 2 pts (Down One)
    Marias Bredis

Light Heavyweights
1) Sergei Kovalev 14 pts
2) Andre Ward WBA/IBF/WBO Champ 13 pts
3) Adonis Stevenson WBC Champ 7 pts
    Artur Beterbiev (Up One)
5) Joe Smith 3 pts (Unranked)
Also Received Votes:Sullivan Barrera

Super Middleweights
1) Badou Jack 13 pts-(Up Two) Jack has vacated his WBC title,will not be rated at 168 next ratings
2) Gilberto Ramirez 12 pts WBO Champ
3) James DeGale 11 pts IBF Champ (Down Two)
4) Callum Smith 5 pts (Up One)
5) Anthony Dirrell 3 pts (Down One)

Middleweights
1) Gennady Golovkin WBA/WBC/IBF Champ 15 pts
2) Daniel Jacobs 12 pts
3) David Lemieux 8 pts
4) Billy Jo Saunders WBO Champ 5 pts
5) Miguel Cotto 3 pts (Unranked)
Also Received Votes:Chris Eubank,Curtis Stevens

Junior Middleweights
1) Canelo Alvarez WBO Champ 15 pts
2) Erislandy Lara WBA Champ 11 pts
3) Jermall Charlo IBF Champ 10 pts (Up Two)
4) Demetrius Andrade 6 pts (Down One)
5) Jermell Charlo WBC Champ 3 pts (Unranked)

Welterweights
1) Kell Brook IBF Champ 15 pts
2) Manny Pacquiao WBO Champ 12 pts (Up One)
3) Errol Spence 9 pts (Up One)
4) Keith Thurman WBA Champ 7 pts (Down One)
5) Danny Garcia WBC Champ 3 pts (Unranked)
Also Received Votes:Shawn Porter

Junior Welterweights
1) Terence Crawford WBC/WBO Champ 15 pts
2) Viktor Postol 9 pts
     Adrian Broner
4) Julius Indongo IBF Champ 6 pts (Unranked)
5) Antonio Orozco 3 pts (Unranked)
Also Received Votes:Ricky Burns WBA Champ, Lucas Matthyssee

Santa Cruz avenges loss-Boxing Challenge

A fun four night night on two networks saw Ramon Malpica add three points to my two and tie the boxing challenge at six....

The biggest fight of the weekend was on Showtime with a rematch of one of the better fights of 2016 with Leo Santa Cruz regaining the WBA featherweight title from Carl Frampton via majority decision in Las Vegas.
The fight was filled with plenty of action,but for pure pugnaciousness,I thought the first fight was a little better.
It appears the next step for both will be a third fight,this time possibly in Frampton's home country of Northern Ireland.
I'm not really against a third fight,but unless it's going to be made quickly (it took six months for this rematch),I'd rather see Santa Cruz in another defense first.
I'm not a fan of two guys being the only two people involved with a title belt for well over a year.
Santa Cruz didn't throw as many punches as in the first fight,but he did make adjustments from his loss by being able to stay "long" and keep Frampton outside with more use of the jab than in the first fight.
I scored Santa Cruz a 115-112 winner or 7-4-1 in rounds....
Ramon and I each picked Frampton for no points.

The other Showtime bout saw Mikey Garcia win a title in his third division with a three round demolition of Dejan Zlaticanin to take away the WBC lightweight title.
Ramon picked Garcia for one point,while I picked Zlaticanin and 30 seconds into the fight,it became clear that Garcia was going to win this fight-it was only a matter how long and how.
The knockout is an early contender for KO of the year and hopefully this will be the start of Garcia being more active.
Garcia has always been extremely talented,I've never doubted that.
My doubts have always been just how much Garcia likes this game and does he have the desire to be great?
Hopefully,a Garcia match vs WBA champ Jorge Linares (Assuming Linares wins his rematch vs Anthony Crolla) can be made between the two top lightweights in the world.

HBO's bouts may not have had the significance of the Showtime card,but it did have a title fight and an eliminator for that champion to defend against in his next fight..
Those fights came through with two excellent action fights and well worth the watch as well-even if on delay after Showtime's bouts.

The main event saw Miguel Berchelt beat up Francisco Vargas and strip away his WBC junior lightweight title with an eleven round stoppage,
Vargas,who had endured huge beatings in tremendous battles against Takashi Miura (winning his title with a come from behind KO) and Orlando Salido (in a draw that I thought Salido won) had his moments,but Berchelt was bigger and stronger and was the deserving win in a good action fight.
Fighters like Vargas that are all action and take tons of punishment tend to lose their skills all at once and Vargas may have done that on this night.
I would suggest to Vargas that he consider retirement,I simply believe he is going to take beatings if he continues his career.
As for Berchelt,he steps into the forefront at 130 with several other fighters that all seem to be around the same talent level and can make plenty of great fights behind Vasyl Lomachenko,who is clearly the top fighter in the division....
WBC champ Berchelt,newly crowned IBF champ Gervonta Davis,WBA Jezreel Corrales and former champs Miura and Salido would make a great fight in any combination and perhaps the survivor of all could be a solid and interesting fight for Lomachenko...
Berchelt's win gave Ramon one point and none for me.

The eliminator saw Takashi Miura go back and forth with Miguel Roman before Miura put Roman away in round 12 to earn the title match later this year vs Berchelt.
I had Roman slightly ahead after nine rounds,but Miura dropped Roman in both the tenth and eleventh round before the fight ending knockdown in the final round.
This was the fight of the night,which says a lot on a night like this one!
Miura gave me two points for the win and knockout,while Ramon added one for the Miura victory

Friday, January 27, 2017

Boxing Challenge

The Boxing Challenge continues with four really strong fights across two networks.

Showtime has the more important fights with a rematch of one of the best fights of 2016 with Carl Frampton defending the WBA featherweight title against the man that he decisioned to win the belt with in Leo Santa Cruz.
Should be a great rematch and combined with WBC lightweight champ Dejan Zlatcanin defending against undefeated and often inactive Mikey Garcia.
Showtime has a great card Saturday night..

HBO's might be less important,but both fights should be loaded with action.
The main event see Francisco Vargas defending his WBC junior lightweight title against powerhitting Miguel Berchelt with former champion Takashi Miura in the co-feature against Miguel Roman,..
The winners are expected to face off in June..

The boxing challenge stands at 4-3 in my favor...

WBA Featherweight Title.12 rds
Carl Frampton vs Leo Santa Cruz
Both:Frampton Unanimous Decision

WBC Lightweight Title.12 rds
Dejan Zlatcanin vs Mikey Garcia
R.L:Garcia Unanimous Decision
TRS:Zlatcanin Split Decision

WBC Junior Lightweight Title .12 rds
Francisco Vargas vs Miguel Berchelt
R.L:Berchelt Unanimous Decision
TRS:Vargas Unanimous Decision

Jr.Lightweights. 12 rds
Takashi Miura vs Miguel Roman
R,L:Miura Unanimous Decision
TRS:Miura KO 9

Cleaning out the inbox

The inbox filled quickly this time with quite a few items and I'm even saving the biggest news item-the passing of Mary Tyler Moore for a single post later this week...

Goodbye to Mike Connors at the age of 91.
Connors was best known as "Joe Mannix" as in the CBS detective series of the same surname from 1968 to 1975.
Mannix was a standard detective show of the age with three really cool exceptions.
First was the array of crazy looking sportcoats that Mannix used to wear ranging from plaid to checkered and everything in between.
Second was the great looking sports cars that Mannix always drove and finally,Mannix used to take some tremendous beatings on that show!
Often times the stars either dominated physically or just occasionally would get hit from behind,but Mannix often would take poundings that were astounding for television.
Mannix also had one terrific theme song too!!


The other passing was actor Dick Gautier at the age of 85.
Gautier was best known for his role of "Hymie the robot" on Get Smart,but made tons of appearances on shows and was a staple of 1970's game shows as well.
Gautier was also remembered by me for the clip below for a equal pay PSA taking Adam West's place as Batman during a time when West was trying to avoid being stereotyped in the role.
Glad to see that worked out for him,but Gautier was the choice and an urban legend had it that this was a feeler to see how Gautier would have been accepted in the role for a mid-70's Batman return to the air...


The Daily Beast has a wide ranging interview with Bill Maher.
Maher discusses Donald Trump at length,but also talks television,his show and some of the other political shows that are comedy based.
I'm a big fan of Real Time as even though I don't agree with Maher on everything,his show at least tries to allow the other side to have some type of a say...

Jeff Heimberger sends me this article looking back at the circus that was in 1975 Toronto as George Foreman attempted to "earn" a rematch with Muhammad Ali by beating five men in one night.
None of the five were anything more than journeymen and it was nothing more than a carnival act.
The stunt didn't help anyone involved and Big George would never have the opportunity to avenge his defeat to Ali....

Comic Book Resources looks at one of my favorite shows in Buffy the Vampire Slayer,which debuted 20 years ago this year.
The lovely Cherie never cared for the show,but the kids and myself loved it,although there were some casting/plot decisions that I wished would have never happened as the show went further down the line.
The article picks the 20 most important episodes of the series.

We wrap with the retirement of Brent Musburger from announcing in order to start a gambling business in Las Vegas,
The 77 year old Musburger was not someone that I was always a fan of,but through the years grew on me and I became quite a fan of his calling games over the last 20 years or so.
No one gave that "big game" feeling better than Musburger and even if he had slipped a little over the last few years,he was still better at communicating the big picture that makes college football so great than other announcers trying to do the same thing......

Making progress,but we have more coming up with the TRS boxing ratings and later our tribute to Mary Tyler Moore.....








Thursday, January 26, 2017

Retro night/Devils Notes

It's retro night in New Jersey and I've been more than a bit lazy in keeping on the Devils.
When I work a lot (and I have been),sleep is sometimes hard to come by and the Devils have been the team/part of the blog that have paid the price.

I'll add a few game notes from the retro night game vs Washington and the all time worst announcing pairing in the game,but there are two news notes that I wanted to write about first..

The note that will affect the team right away is the claim of right winger Stefan Noesen off waivers from Anaheim.
The 2011 first round pick of Ottawa was a main piece of the trade with Anaheim that sent Bobby Ryan to the Senators,but has never been able to break through on the main roster there.
Noesen scored his first two career goals for the Ducks this season in 12 games before being waived.
Noesen is still young as he turns just 24 in a few weeks,so this is a low risk acquisition for a very low cost and a player with talent that might just need a change of scenery.
New Jersey placed winger Beau Bennett on injured reserve to make space for Noesen on the roster...

The other note isn't as important in the short term,but perhaps more important in the long as the Devils are expected to announce over the weekend after approval from the AHL at their all-star game that they will be moving their AHL team south in New York from Albany to Binghamton.

Albany ranks 30 (last) in attendance in the AHL with just 2,888 fans in a 15,000 seat arena with Binghamton being 29th of 30 in their final season with the Senators as the Senators were bought and will be moved to Belleville Ontario for the 2017-18 season.
However,Binghamton still averages 3,436 in an arena that holds under 5,000 at Floyd Maines arena and Binghamton is paying the Devils two million to make the move as well as providing the staff to run the team.
The Devils will now enter their third city in the top minor league since 2010 having left Lowell,Massachusetts to move to Albany.
I have mixed feelings on the move.
I feel for Albany because it always is bad to lose a team,but in an era that sees the AHL move to bigger cities,attendance is becoming an even larger issue for the league and under 3,000 fans a night in a large arena looks really bad.
Binghamton had their team pulled out from under them and from the day the move to Belleville was announced,the word spread that Binghamton was not going to lose hockey as the league was going to make sure the city was taken care of.
For me,it's easier-Binghamton is still four hours from here,but it's an easy drive (unlike Albany) and I can see me doing that for an early or late season trip some year...

It was retro night as the Devils returned to the loved red and green for an evening.
Sadly,of all teams to play,it was the Washington Capitals as the opponent and between the Capitals being very good,their announcers being very bad and forced to watch their network (so we missed all the old school video clips),this was the worst team for me to have as the opposition on retro night..
It all proved to be true as Washington chased Keith Kinkaid and defeated the Devils 5-2.
Devils goals to Adam Henrique ( 12 Power Play) and newcomer Stefan Noesen (3) in the defeat,
New Jersey now gets some time off as they will not play until next Tuesday against the Red Wings in Detroit.

Hell Raisers

1) Keith Kinkaid had been the goalie that had been playing with Cory Schneider dealing with ineffectiveness and illness.
Tonight,it was Kinkaid that was ineffective and was lifted after four goals in a period and change...

2) It wasn't all on Kinkaid as two of those goals were created by poor defense.
The Alex Ovechkin goal came off a strip and go from Kyle Quincey that was very soft on the part of Quincey.
I know Ovechkin is a star and the officials call things very tight on star players these days,but you cannot completely refuse to touch the guy like Quincey did..

3) And then there's Jon Merrill,who handed the Capitals a goal by doing exactly what you are trained not to do when pressured near your own net-move the puck toward the net.
Sure enough,Merrill's puck move deflected off Adam Henrique and into the net.
Dumb hockey...

4) I hope the period and a half of strong play by Cory Schneider and then resulting break for the All-Star game can get him back into gear a bit.
Schneider made two spectacular saves and looked very sharp in relief.
You want this team to turn around after the break?
Cory Schneider needs to be the person that steps up..

5) I did like what I saw from Stefan Noesen,who scored the first goal for the Devils.
Noesen was quoted as saying he could bring a player that likes to crash the net and bang away to a team that needed it.
If Noesen can bring that,he'll stick for a while...

6) I still love the red and green and if the owners (post-Lou) want to make a change and yet be respectful of Devils tradition then a return to the red and green makes a lot of sense to me...

7) Wrapping up,the Devils are tied with three other teams (Carolina,Buffalo and Detroit) for last place with 49 points.
It'll be interesting to see if the Devils attempt to improve to make a playoff run (seven points out of the final spot),try to add a player from a cap strapped team or rollover for a higher pick in the draft.
None of those would surprise me,but I suspect the Devils will be sellers rather than buyers as trade deadline time nears....

8) Editors note:After the game the Devils sent Seth Helgeson,Steve Santini and Karl Stollery to Albany....








Rounding the Bases

Lots of news with passings and the inbox has seemingly filled up overnight.
I likely will have a few extra posts over the next day or so on various things,so hopefully those will interesting to some of you.

Two podcasts have been listed already this week and I have another one finished and likely to go up either Friday or the weekend,so keep an eye out for that...

A few baseball moves for the Indians and Giants on tap,but first a few words on the death of Yordano Ventura and Andy Marte in separate accidents in the Dominican Republic.

Ventura was known for his hard throwing and being part of the World Series champion Royals in 2015 and often hit the magic 100 MPH target,while Marte was at one time considered one of the games future stars as a highly touted 3rd base prospect as he rose through the Atlanta system,but never was able to hit as well as projected and wound up as one of those "4A" players that was excellent in AAA,but unable to post similar major league numbers.

As tragic as the loss of these players are,the bigger story is how it has opened my eyes to just how dangerous the roads are in the Dominican Republic.
I mentioned the deaths to Cherie in passing and I was surprised that the first thing that she said was about the horrible driving conditions there.
I looked it up shortly thereafter and this ESPN article by Jerry Crasnick described the situation there perfectly.
It seems like an awful situation and one with no solution in sight....

The Indians added a player that I hoped (In hindsight,I might have hyped that far more than it proved to be worth) that they would add last year to a minor league contract and I have a feeling that this player is going to make the team in outfielder Austin Jackson.
The 30 year old Jackson missed much of last season with an injury (54 games,.254 0 Hr and 18 RBI) with the White Sox,but I suspect Jackson should take up the spot vacated by Rajai Davis and could challenge for the center field position with Tyler Naquin and Abraham Almonte.
The deal pays Jackson 1.5 million if he makes the roster and a maximum of four million,if Jackson hits all incentives.
As some one that has never been an Abraham Almonte fan and having watched the late season stick struggles of Tyler Naquin (The book on him is out),this might be (IF Jackson can stay healthy) a very valuable move for the Wahoos....

Meanwhile in San Francisco,the Giants added two players,one very intriguing and the Baysiders designated another for assignment.
Versatile infielder Ehire Adrianza was designated for assignment after these moves,but would be offered a spring training invite should he clear waivers...

The interesting signing was of Korean third baseman Jae-Gyun Hwang to a minor league deal that would pay him a million and a half,should Hwang make the roster.
Hwang is 29,but this is a very inexpensive chance to take,if Hwang proves to be productive as he could allow Eduardo Nunez to play the super utility "Zobrist" position,if he (and Conor Gillespie) could hold down third base.
Hwang hit .335 with 29 homers in a hitters league with 25 stolen bases and despite being a far from sure thing is an interesting flyer to take for a team that still needs help with the bats...

The Giants also signed veteran Nick Hundley to likely be the backup catcher to Buster Posey.
Hundley hit ten homers in just over eighty games with the Rockies last season,so he does provide some power for the Posey off days and isn't a negative to the point of being afraid to move Posey to first base here and there to keep him from wearing down too much.
Hundley likely has the edge for the job,but the Giants do have last years backup Trevor Brown returning with Tim Federowicz and Josmil Pinto signed to minor league deal to challenge....

So much more to write about we have the passing of Mary Tyler Moore among others,a filled up inbox,new TRS boxing ratings for the year and more!
Stay tuned!!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Browns sign Jamie Collins

The Cleveland Browns had talked about the importance of re-signing their own players (at least those worth keeping) and were able to back up those words for a change as the Browns were able to keep Jamie Collins by Lake Erie with a four year contract.

It cost the Browns fifty million (26 of that guaranteed) and that's a little bit of an overpay,but not an insane one and the Browns by keeping Collins take a need off their draft board at a linebacker spot.
Collins finished with 48 tackles and two sacks in his eight games as a Brown and in my opinion was the teams best defensive player.

Keeping Collins in Cleveland also brings another positive to the table as the signing is a sign to players in other cities (and future draftees) that there are some positives in Cleveland,
Now,to be honest,Collins got a little more money to stay than he likely would have to go elsewhere and that had just as much (and likely more) to do with his staying,but the Browns had plenty of cap space and why not use it on a player that has proven himself as a top player?
Now,Jamie Collins isn't a impact player (although he's being paid as one),but he's a very good one and if the Browns can continue (Start?) to build a talented defense,Collins will really step to the front.
And with the possible pick of Myles Garrett,Collins could make an impact rushing the passer when he is a 3rd or 4th option on the rush and he was known as an elite level cover linebacker with the Patriots...

There is another plus to this signing coming so early in the free agency season-the Browns now could,should they so desire,use the franchise tag to keep Terrelle Pryor and keep both of their top two homegrown free agents.
This is a bigger deal than expected because when trading a 3rd round compensation pick to New England to obtain Collins,many observers wondered if the Browns could sign Collins and Pryor and if so,could they do it without using both the franchise and transition slots?
The Browns will be able to avoid using both with the signing of Collins.

The Cleveland Browns are paying more than market value to Jamie Collins,but bad teams usually have to do business that way because players are unlikely to stay or come to town otherwise.
Considering the Browns abundant room under the cap,I'm fine with the signing.


Monday, January 23, 2017

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Forgotten Superstars:Charles Napier

Charles Napier might not be a name that you recognize,but I bet you'd recognize his face or even his gravely voice from the 1960's on...

Napier was a character actor that never got the "big break" needed to be lead actor in film or television.
But,what a character actor Napier was with a list of memorable roles beyond my mentioning with an ability to turn a supporting role into one not to be forgotten,

Napier had a few of those for me,the security guard that Anthony Hopkins takes out in Silence of the Lambs, played several police/military types in films such as Austin Powers and was the judge in the Tom Hanks film Philadelphia,but three roles for me stood above the rest for me of Napier's career.

Chronologically,the first was his appearance as "Adam" in the original Star Trek in the "Way to Eden" episode.
The episode is loosely known to Trekkers and others as the "Hippie" episode and James Doohan (Scotty) has been quoted as saying was the worst episode in the entire run of the Star Trek series.
That episode is noted for the hippies calling "squares" "Herbert" constantly,which has caught on through the fandom,lots of rhyming "Crack my knuckles and jump for joy,I've got a clean bill of health from Dr.McCoy!" and also was combined with lots of singing and dancing with singing from Napier's character.
Napier was involved with the writing of the songs in the show and did his own singing,which I'll allow you to decide whether was a good thing or not!
Napier would return to Star Trek with an appearance as a general in Deep Space Nine in the great "Little Green Men" episode built around the Ferengi being the aliens that landed in Roswell,New Mexico.


Napier also was memorable as "Murdock" in Rambo 2 as the corrupt Washington committee leader that abandoned Rambo in Vietnam after Rambo found POW's.
Murdock gave the order to abandon Rambo in order to not have to deal with the political disaster of actually finding the men and the chaos that would ensue.
Napier played the arrogant part perfectly and did a terrific job of selling being scared out of his wits when Rambo tells him he is returning just to "get you" and the climatic scene of the film when Rambo nails Murdock to the desk by his tie with his knife as "Mission Accomplished".


The role that was the smallest of the three,but arguably the most memorable was as "Tucker McElroy" who was the "lead singer and driver of the Winnebago" of the Good Ol' Boys country band in the Blues Brothers.
Napier and his band never actually perform in this film,although considering Napier's background,I would say that there might be some deleted scenes somewhere with the Good Ol' Boys actually performing.
Other than this big scene,Napier/McElroy would only appear in a minor fashion for the remainder of the film chasing the Blues Brothers,but this scene and famous quote would cement Napier in my circle forever!
If you only knew how many times that scene came up with my brother,my oldest friend Greg and of course Ryan,the number has to be astonishing!


Charles Napier passed away in 2011 at the age of 75 and as noted,never accomplished his goal of being a star and his name being recognized,but his work and roles were memorable and among some of us-Charles Napier was more of a star than many stars.
We welcome Charles Napier to the Forgotten Superstars universe....





Saturday, January 21, 2017

Pigskin Picking Machine

Last Week:3-1
Overall: 118-47

AFC Championship
New England over Pittsburgh 34-17

NFC Championship
Green Bay over Atlanta 30-21

The Day After

Yep,it's finally concluded as election 2016 (that began in the first part of 2015) became official as Donald Trump was sworn in.

I'm sure you know my opinion of Trump,I've been pretty open from day one about my dislike-which goes all the way back to the mid-1980's and his destruction of the United States Football League and the loss of a friendship over Trump and my opinions of him.
Still,there are people who I respect for being very intelligent and they are Trump supporters-so I am open to being wrong.

I'd like to see some more Presidential behavior,but when it comes to Donald Trump,I'm dubious of any changes as far his comportment goes.

For all that I think and worry about Trump-I still blame one group and it's not the group that you might think for putting him in position to run the country
That group is the Democratic party hierarchy.
Had the Democratic party not insisted on shoving Hillary Clinton down the throats of a voting populace that wanted no part of her by giving her every break in the primaries and basically fixing the whole process-perhaps we wouldn't be having Donald Trump today.
Hillary Clinton was such an unlikable and flawed candidate and still won the popular vote against Donald Trump.
I blame the Democratic party establishment for all of this.
The results are on their hands.

I'm not a person that roots against our President or our country,although I'm not afraid to criticize either when they are in error,so I'm hoping for the best while expecting the worst.
Win or lose,I'm an American first and I don't root for things to go bad,just so I can say I was right.
I've been wrong so often with Donald Trump-I hope I'm wrong one more time....

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Cleaning out the inbox

Time to clean the inbox.

We start with a blog that I found that does reviews of 1970's and 80's DC comics named Chris is on Infinite Earth's.
Chris is reviewing tons of great comics from that age,including my guy Floyd Lawton or Deadshot.
Well before the Suicide Squad,you might remember my post on Floyd from 2013 and how he was perhaps my favorite villain in the DC universe.
I need to break out my collection sometime and look back the way Chris is doing right now.,but it's fun reading his reviews and all the fun memories from long ago....

Richard Deitsch writes the Media Circus columns at SI.com and he put together a massive list of terrific articles written in 2016 from both sports and the outside world.
I spent most of a night looking them over and grabbed a few of interest for the inbox....

The read of the night comes from Pamela Colloff of Texas Monthly entitled the Reckoning-the story of Claire Wilson.
The story of Wilson is what happened in her life fifty years after being wounded in the 1966 shooting from the tower at the University of Texas that killed 15 and injured 31 others.
Colloff had written about the shooting for Texas Monthly ten years earlier in a prize winning article "96 Minutes",but this article uses the shooting for background and focuses on the years following the shooting for Wilson.
I couldn't stop reading,just a tremendous piece of writing..

David Ng of the Los Angeles Times writes about O.J. Simpson,which seems to be a market all by itself,but Ng writes about something that hadn't previously been discussed as Ng writes about what Simpson's life is like behind prison walls.
It's an interesting look about the current life of Simpson,which often isn't discussed when dealing with the topic of O.J.Simpson...

Jordan Ritter of the Ringer writes about the talented former Jaguar receiver Justin Blackmon,who will likely never play in the NFL again after numerous suspensions.
Ritter goes deep into the background of Blackmon and goes to his hometown of Ardmore Oklahoma to see what the locals think of Blackmon.
Blackmon was such a talented receiver and really lost it all due to his battle with the bottle.
I really loved Blackmon's skills coming out of Oklahoma State and proves the one point that I (and many draft observers) make-the one thing that the franchises have over the rest is the ability to look beyond the film due to access to so many off the field items.,,

Stacey Gotsulias writes for the Hardball Times and her article on her late father was very touching.
Gotsulias reflects on her dad and her memories of spending time with the games and rooting for the Yankees.
It's the type of story that so many of us that are fans have with someone important in their life,but few can put it into the type of words that she does.

Justin Heckert of ESPN writes about the rarest game made by the original Nintendo-Stadium Events from 1987 and the value of what seems to be a pretty crummy game.
I never realized people actually collected video games,but it makes sense as everything has value to someone.
Stadium Events was rebranded as World Class Track and Field for those Nintendo mats that you "ran" on to move your avatar on screen.
Just like baseball cards,it's all about how few are made,not about how good the product is.....

We wrap with another loss from the Apollo years as the last man to walk on the moon passed away as Gene Cernan died at the age of 82.
Cernan,who was a Gemini veteran as well as Apollo,was one of the Apollo astronauts to somewhat stay in the public eye as he was an ABC News contributor for space and science.
Cernan was also noted for the difficulties that he had in his Gemini spacewalk that resulted in some training changes and doing things differently on spacewalks.
Cernan was very outspoken on issues that involved NASA and their decisions that ended manned space missions further than Earth orbit and could always be relied on for honesty when discussing issues involving our investment in space...


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Podcast:Special Guest Scott Dryden

The podcast returns with special guest Scott Dryden with an hour talking Browns and NFL Draft prospects....

Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka

The passing of Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka brought to mind plenty of childhood memories...

I've written many times of my childhood following pro wrestling and the WWF was an area that usually featured some of the biggest stars of the game,but in a much slower style.
My brother,Shane and I devoured the wrestling (and boxing) magazines of the day,spending much of our money following things in the pre-cable era.

Jimmy Snuka was a name in the magazines and was a star,but not an elite star.
The first time that I ever saw Snuka was on Georgia Championship Wrestling as a team with Terry Gordy,after a Fabulous Freebirds split.
Snuka had a juiced up body and won this cowboy hat around with a feather that didn't exactly scream Fuji Islands,but that's pro wrestling for you!
It just happened to be on a weekend that we were visiting Ohio.
Those trips were always looked forward by Shane and I for visiting family once a year,but it was the one day a year that we could watch Georgia Wrestling on WTBS.
We would often beg the "lucky" relative we were visiting at 6;05 for us to watch the GCW show.
I'm sure it embarrassed my dad on one hand,but he likely didn't mind so much as we watched the show quietly and transfixed in front of the set,not having to worry about bad behavior for a change!
Here is a Snuka/Gordy clip minus the cowboy hat...


When Snuka's run in Georgia was finished,he was headed north to the WWF and he was an athlete that this territory hadn't seen in years-if at all.
As a heel managed by Lou Albano,that was portrayed as a savage that didn't speak (Which anyone with cable knew was not the case from the Georgia stint),Snuka immediately stood out with his look,but more importantly the "Superfly" dive off the top rope in a company not known for spectacular moves.
Snuka was instantly a star and far more than the usual bad guy foil of the month for then champion Bob Backlund.
In Madison Square Garden,where the usual run against Backlund was two matches,Snuka would get three title matches with the final standoff inside a steel cage.
Surprisingly,the crowd was likely at least a third,if not more in favor of the thought to be hated Snuka and his manager Albano.,which would change the mind of the promotion about how to use Snuka in the future.
However,they still had to have Backlund defeat Snuka and Snuka would make it arguably the most memorable losing effort in WWF/E history (only Steve Austin's loss to Bret Hart would give it a run) as Snuka climbed to the top of the cage to attempt to land the Superfly on a prone Backlund.
Again,this being wrestling,it made no sense as had Snuka leaped OUTSIDE the cage to the floor,he would have won the match and the title-But that is pro wrestling logic.
Instead,Snuka leaped inside the cage ,Backlund moved out of the way and crawled out of the cage to retain the title.


The series against Backlund almost forced the WWF hand as they felt that he must be a fan favorite,so he was being "cheated" out of his money by Albano and then piledriven on the floor by Ray "the Crippler" Stevens and the hottest feud in the territory since Sammartino-Zbyszko ensued.
Snuka and Stevens were even supposed to bring their battle to Hagerstown,but the blizzard of 1983 hit on the night of their match and resulted in a cancellation.
By the time of the re-scheduled contest,Stevens had left the territory and Snuka would face veteran Ivan Koloff in a good match that wasn't quite as meaningful.
The best was yet to come for Snuka,who had two more huge drawing cards on tap and could have been the star that Vince McMahon built around as he went nationally.
However,out of the ring issues (including the recently returned to the news death of Snuka's girlfriend) made McMahon go with Hulk Hogan despite Snuka's popularity being red hot and likely just as capable on being the top star as Hogan in wrestling,although Hogan would have had more appeal to the non-wrestling fan that would be soon testing the product out to the national expansion.

That didn't mean Snuka was done as he engaged a in torrid feud with the Inter-Continental champion (and my childhood role model ) the Magnificent Muraco with the two battling it out in brutal matches.
Muraco and Snuka finally met for the ending match to their series in the Garden,but there was a problem,Muraco needed to keep the title,but in a way that helped and not hurt Snuka.
The solution? Inside a steel cage,Snuka would batter Muraco throughout the match,but after a headbutt sent a dazed Muraco out the cage door and to the floor for the fluke victory,an enraged Snuka drug Muraco back into the ring and then delivered what he missed against Backlund with the iconic splash off the cage.
Muraco took the impact and then Snuka threw the belt on Muraco and spit on him giving him the final word...


The Superfly wasn't finished as he had one last run as he was the person chosen to feud with Roddy Piper and establish Piper as the promotion's top heel with the infamous coconut to the head from Piper during a Piper's Pit.
That segment and resulting feud established Piper,but as hot as the feud was and for all the money that was made,there could have been more,but Snuka left the company (Under the guise of being injured by Piper) and replaced by Tonga Kid.
When Snuka came back,the heat was gone as Piper had been programmed in another direction for the most part and despite the magic anytime the two were around each other,the two were never in a full scale program again.



Snuka was never the same after leaving the WWF as he traveled between stints in the AWA,Japan,the beginnings of ECW and Japan along with a occasional mid-card return in the WWF and wrestling for independent promotions where the name still brought people to the shows.
I spent one of those evenings in a small town hanging out with Snuka,believe it or not.
Long ago,my brother would wrestle and on a long trip,I'd go along to keep him company on the ride.
On this night,Snuka was in the main event and afterwards while Shane worked on the ring etc,Snuka pulled up a chair and sat next to me watching the evening wind down.
He was pretty reserved and very nice and for the best part of an hour,we talked a little about wrestling,but more small talk than anything.


I decided not to write much about what Snuka was in the news for recently-the reopened 1983 death of his girlfriend mainly because he never stood and I have no idea on the proof of the case.
I'm not ducking the issue,but I decided to stick to what I knew-his ring work and the memories of watching him as a kid.
The Superfly was an icon in the Northeast to a certain age group of people that the champions of the age-Bob Backlund and even Hulk Hogan could ever match,
It's hard to explain how Jimmy Snuka caught that lightning in a bottle for that two to three year period.
I guess you had to be there.....

Sunday, January 15, 2017

DeGale and Jack battle to Draw-Boxing Challenge

As bad as the PBC presentation on Spike was on Friday,that's how good the same promotion (with some help from "Mayweather Promotions") was on Showtime on Saturday as two title fights and a preliminary fight on Showtime Extreme produced excellent viewing for the boxing fan....

The main event saw an attempt to unify two of the super middleweight titles that failed as WBC champion Badou Jack and IBF beltholder James DeGale battled to a majority draw in an entertaining bout.
DeGale scored a flash knockdown of Jack in round one and dominated the early and middle rounds before ceding control to Jack,who won many of the late rounds and dropped DeGale in the final round,nearly stopping the Briton.
Had DeGale not been knocked down in the twelve,he would have won a unanimous decision.
I had DeGale a 114-112 winner,which agreed with one judge,but the other two scored the bout a draw.
One would think a rematch would be in order after such an exciting fight,but Floyd Mayweather,the promoter of Jack appears to want to move Jack to light heavyweight where the natural fight considering promotional issues would be against WBC champion Adonis Stevenson.

The co-feature saw the emergence of a possible future star as Gervonta Davis took the IBF junior lightweight title away from Jose Pedraza via a seventh round knockout.
Davis,another member of Floyd Mayweather's "Money Team" fights far differently than his mentor as Davis comes forward, makes exciting fights and is fun to watch-none of which could be said on a consistent basis of Floyd Mayweather.
Pedraza could have been more effective,if less exciting had he used his size to use the jab and see if Davis could find his way through it.
Instead,Pedraza stood his ground and attempted to back Davis up to his own detriment and fell far behind on the cards before the Davis stoppage.
PBC is stronger in some divisions than others and 130 pounds is not one of their stronger divisions as many of the bullies in the division including the boss of them all in Vasyl Lomachenko fight for other promoters and make fights vs those fighters difficult to make.
Davis strikes me as a talented fighter,who will make good fights,but will wind up being very good,but not elite....
Ramon Malpica and I each earned one point for the Davis win,so after the first weekend.I lead Ramon 4-3...

Normally,I don't mention undercard fights,but Showtime extreme shows a few undercard fights early in the evening at times and there was a middleweight fight between two undefeated prospects that both have been seen on Showtime's ShoBox series for prospects.
Immanuel Aleem was the underdog vs Ievgen Khytrov,but in the fight of the night (which does go a long way),Aleem dropped Khytrov in the first and then again in the third and looked to be ready to put Khytrov away.
That's when the fun really began as a stunned Khytrov turned the tide and began to send Aleem reeling around the ring and was out on his feet before being saved by the bell.
In round six,Aleem dropped a badly hurt Khytrov with a crunching left and an argument could have been made to end the fight right then,but Khytrov gamely rose before being driven into the ropes to be pounded before the referee stopped the fight.
Huge win for Immanuel Aleem,who is worth remembering after this fight and goes to show that there is more than just the main event when it's time for good action in the ring....


Saturday, January 14, 2017

Waste of time-New boxing challenge

I wrote yesterday about the first day of a two day PBC boxing weekend being a waste of time and that's exactly what it was from Hialeah Park in Miami with two blowouts in non-competitive bouts....

In the main event,Erislandy Lara did what you are supposed do when a world champion fights an overmatched opponent-he takes him out as quickly as possible as Lara dominated three rounds and then landed a crunching left hook on former champion and current rabbi Yuri Foreman to end their WBA junior middleweight title fight in the fourth round.
Lara,who is as technically skilled as any fighter in the game,but usually fights in a manner that is as exciting as watching someone clean their basement,gets credit for taking Foreman out,but loses points for fighting Foreman to begin with.
Lara is in perhaps the most difficult spot in boxing as he is A) Very Skilled and B) Usually not very entertaining to watch,which means C) Lara comes with high risk with very little monetary reward for anyone wanting to face him of any type of top level stature.

After the stoppage of Foreman,Lara brought out the usual PBC prattle of "I'll fight anyone",but never anyone that fights for his own promoter (Lara stablemates;WBC champ Jermell Charlo or IBF champ Jermall Charlo),which would be easy fights to make.
Instead,Lara calls for fighters that aren't promoted by PBC and have little interest in a fight against Lara that would have trouble attracting fans (Gennady Golovkin,WBO 154 pound champ Canelo Alvarez,etc).I understand Lara's predicament,but I don't feel too sorry for him being that it is a business and his lack of interest in either Charlo brother takes title unification away from the tide...

The other televised fight saw former super middleweight champion Anthony Dirrell pound former kick boxer Norbert Nemesapati around for six rounds without scoring a knockdown before Nemesapati's corner stopped the bout after the sixth.
Dirrell,the former WBC champ who lost a decision to Badou Jack,who unifies that belt tonight with IBF champ James DeGale, last year has generally fought overmatched opponents since that loss and should be in line for a title fight soon despite that fact.
Dirrell proves little from these showcase bouts other than staying busy and avoiding an upset loss...

This was the type of card that doesn't help fans come to the sport whether it is on free television or not.
I think tonight's Showtime card should be a good on,so tear yourself away from the Patriots blowing out the Texans and check out what I think should be two pretty good contests....

The 2017 boxing challenge started with Ramon Malpica.
I started with three points for the night with two for the Erislandy Lara knockout win and one for the Anthony Dirrell win.
Ramon took two points with one point each for the Lara and Dirrell wins.

Pigskin Picking Machine

Last Week:4-1
Overall: 115-46

NFL
New England over Houston 35-10
Pittsburgh over Kansas City 23-17
Green Bay over Dallas 24-20
Seattle over Atlanta 29-26

Friday, January 13, 2017

Title Unification and 2017 Boxing Challenge

The 2017 boxing challenge gets underway with a PBC promoted two nights that features the best and worst of boxing.

Starting with the worst from Spike TV with arguably the worst title fight that you could make from a lack of action point as talented but dull Erislandy Lara defends his WBA junior middleweight title against faded former champion Yuri Foreman,who is also dull and has fought only twice against low level competition since 2013.
This is a pathetic fight if it were just a main event,it's even worse that it is for a world title.
The undercard has former super middleweight champ Anthony Dirrell against Norbert Nemesapati.
Can't you sense the excitement?
Yay....

However,Uncle Al Haymon and the PBC offers up a really good doubleheader on Saturday on Showtime with two pickem level title matches.
The main event features a title unification at 168 pounds as WBC champ Badou Jack faces IBF titlist James DeGale in Brooklyn.
This should be a good fight and I'm always in for titles being unified...
The co-main event might be one that I'm even more excited about as IBF junior lightweight champion Jose Pedraza defends against Floyd Mayweather protege' Gervonta Davis.
Pedraza was highly touted as a prospect before winning the title,but I had him losing in his first defense to Edner Cherry,although Pedraza got the decision.
Davis doesn't have a top 20 victim on his resume',but has the backing of Haymon and Mayweather,which is why the talented and yet untested prospect is getting this opportunity..
Pedraza better be on his top game as he has made several comments about the PBC not being fair to him,so he may have a rough time getting any decision;let alone a close one.

WBA Junior Middleweight title.12 rds
Erislandy Lara vs Yuri Foreman
R.L:Lara unanimous decision
TRS:Lara KO 10

Super Middleweights.10 rds
Anthony Dirrell vs Norbert Nemaspati
Both:Dirrell unanimous decision

WBA/IBF Super Middleweight title unification.12 rds
Badou Jack vs James DeGale
Both:DeGale unanimous decision

IBF Junior Lightweight title.12 rds
Jose Pedraza vs Gervonta Davis
R.L:Davis unanimous decision
TRS: Davis split decision- I actually think Pedraza is going to win,but I just cannot see him getting a decision all things considered...


Podcast: Q and A

The podcast returns as I answer questions from readers and listeners...

Thursday, January 12, 2017

California Scheming

I know all about the feeling that football fans in Southern California (Far Southern California that is) have today.
They feel betrayed and I've been there with the Browns,so I know how they feel,but this is an unusually special money grab.

The National Football League is well known for taking any dollar that they can grab and for almost any reason and this extends to their franchises.
Their lack of caring and concern extends from Cleveland having the Browns ripped away despite sellouts to be given to Baltimore,who wouldn't have needed a team at all,had the NFL not punched them in the face twice with the Colts moving to Indianapolis and Paul Tagliabue  picking Jacksonville (great call,by the way) over Baltimore in 1990's expansion,so that his beloved Washington D.C could remain the only team in a market that would never accept the Redskins in the Baltimore portion to allowing teams to return to towns for twenty year checks,only to allow those cities (St.Louis and Oakland) to be held up later for more opulent stadiums.
Cities that deal with the NFL do so at their own peril and more than likely,accommodating them is a 10 to 15 year time-share in keeping them happy.
Being fair,baseball is no different as 20ish year old parks in Arlington and Atlanta are being replaced as obsolete,so the NFL isn't alone,but they seem to have a unique place as they almost always (emphasis on both words) go for the money.

San Diego isn't blameless as despite some attempts to finance a new stadium,they have not been able to get a deal finished.
Qualcomm Stadium is 50 years old and I can see the points for a new facility,although sometimes a nice renovation can go a long way (Arrowhead in Kansas City for example) towards revitalization,I agree with the Chargers needing to catch up with the times.
Here are my problems with this.

The city of San Diego has made a decision that the Chargers/NFL is not of the same value to their community as the financial commitment would take to keep them there.
Many people in the sports world are applauding San Diego for not doing so (I saw Rachel Nichols doing so on Twitter to name one person) and if that's how they feel,good for them.
Usually,that doesn't last for long with pro sports (I know the feeling with the Hagerstown Suns),people discover what they have lost and the arduous task of returning pro sports to their town begins.
That's a long road that even if successful,the community winds up spending just as much,if not more to return sports to the area than they would have spent to begin with to keep the team.
Not to mention the moral dilemma that so many have to deal with-stealing because you were stolen from.
I'd have much more respect for San Diego,if they simply said that the NFL has simply gotten too expensive for their city and are moving in different directions.

As for the Chargers,they are a laughing stock after this move.
Not even the Los Angeles media seem interested in the Chargers,they'll be entering a market with two baseball teams (Dodgers and Angels),one other pro football team (Rams),two basketball teams (Lakers and Clippers),two hockey teams (Kings and Ducks) and two major college programs (UCLA and USC) that are powerhouses in football (USC) and basketball (UCLA) to contend with for attention.
They'll be playing in a 30,000 seat stadium for two years until the stadium built for the Rams (and now Chargers) will be ready and have released a logo that basically is a knockoff of the Dodgers that has brought guffaws from all over social media.
Add to that,the Southern California sports fan that notoriously often times is only interested in winning teams and terrific weather that allows year around activity and the Chargers are going to have a very difficult time with a 5-11 team and an aging quarterback (Phillip Rivers) cementing itself in that local sports scene.
The Chargers have long ago being shown to be a franchise that doesn't worry about its fans and customers.
From refusing to give the fans what they want (the powder blue uniforms) to firing the most successful coach in its history (Marty Schottenheimer) to keep around a general manager who sent the franchise to its current spiral,the Chargers have usually succeeded by accident and more often failed by a stubbornness by the Spanos family to listen to its fan base or to anyone that had successful in football.

I see no winner in this fiasco.
The Chargers are going to be shoved into a market that could care less,San Diego loses professional football with the money that brings in,the NFL continues to look like a company that would put a team in Minot, North Dakota,if they'd build them stadium,the Spanos family joins the list of owners that moved a team out of town despite fan support and the fans in San Diego,who can look to Baltimore as an example of having to steal a team for a return to the league,as the NFL will look at San Diego as being close enough to Los Angeles to not be a must have return...

Sad thing to see yet another city lose its team,but in the end.sports are only a game to their fans-to everyone else,it is always a business and in business-money is always the bottom line....



Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Case for and against DeShaun Watson

One night after the Clemson Tigers led by quarterback DeShaun Watson upset the Alabama Crimson Tide,the drumbeat began from Cleveland Browns fans-Is the conqueror of Alabama,our guy and the future of the Cleveland Browns under center?

I'll offer a pro and con look at DeShaun Watson before I give my take at the end of the post.
Keep in mind that this is before the post season all-star games and of course the combine,so I'm reserving the right to change my mind...

The Case for the Browns to take Watson

The Cleveland Browns are in need of a quarterback and here is the best quarterback from the college ranks that knocked one of the best teams (thought of before the game) in college football history off and happens to be sitting there for the Browns in a season that they hold two of the top twelve picks in the draft.
Watson gives you decent size (6'2),good speed and has ability to get out of the pocket and make plays with his feet.
Watson has a good arm and some ability to get the ball downfield and not even his worst detractors would knock his leadership abilities or his smarts (graduated in 2 and a half years).
DeShaun Watson is a proven winner,is the most plug and play of the quarterbacks in this draft and might be the top rated of all quarterbacks.

The Case for the Browns to pass on Watson

DeShaun Watson doesn't have great size and tends to run first instead of staying in the pocket.
Watson's arm isn't a cannon and he isn't always accurate when throwing the deep ball.
Even at his best,the Watson accuracy can be erratic from medium to long range,so that is a concern.
Watson's NFL comps range from a bigger Russell Wilson to a more mobile Drew Brees to a Robert Griffin/Colin Kaepernick style that might have been better suited to solve NFL defenses five years ago than the current defenses that have almost made those types of quarterbacks and the systems best suited for them obsolete.
Are you satisfied with using a first round pick,especially the first overall on a player that doesn't figure to be a franchise quarterback?


My Answer
I'm vehemently against taking DeShaun Watson with the first pick in the draft.
To me that would be a huge reach and taking a quarterback for the sake of taking one.
I'm not sure I like Watson at 12 either,but I'm a little more open to him (or any other QB) at that point in the draft.
Honestly,with so many holes on this team,I want the best player on the board and if that means that the Browns don't take a QB until round two or even round three,I would be OK with that.
I want playmakers on either side of the ball and if I (or the Browns) are not convinced that Watson (or any other QB) can be such,then I have no problem waiting a round or two for a perceived lesser quarterback.
My answer is as follows (for now before all the pre-draft stuff)
No at 1,maybe,but lean no at 12,highly consider at 33 depending on who would be there/
It's entirely possible that Watson doesn't make it to 12,quarterbacks are often overdrafted and with several teams between 1 and 12 with a quarterback need,it's arguably even likely Watson isn't there at 12.
All things considered,if the Browns must take DeShaun Watson with the first pick in the draft-I can live without him....


Monday, January 9, 2017

Cleaning out the inbox

We start with the inbox with a note on the Browns from Cincinnati of all places as a long time Browns fan uses the opinion page to discuss how the relentless losing has destroyed the legacy of a once proud franchise.
The column is quite detailed on the history of the Browns,the city,things done right and those that went awry from a fan that sees things from a distant perspective....

ESPN's uni-watch discusses the classic look of the Oakland Raiders.
The Raiders uniforms have had a few subtle changes,but most you have to look closely to see.
I really love the silver numbers on white jerseys that the Raiders only used for one season (1970),but use on occasion as throwbacks.
Is it just me or do all the AFL teams have great uniforms that they still use or should be using (Chargers,Pats, Dolphins)?

SB Nation writes about the Houston Cougars,the city of Houston and the attempts of the Cougars to make their program the dominant one in the city that they reside in.
The article is pretty deep into the city itself and the Cougars and the struggles that the team has had breaking into the upper tier of college football.
The article was written before Tom Herman left for the Texas Longhorns.

The Wichita Eagle reports the passing of another New York baseball Giants as Daryl Spencer passed away at the age of 88.
Spencer is also known for hitting the first homer after the Giants moved to San Francisco.....

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Browns hire Gregg Williams,fire Ray Horton in coordinator swap.

Two notes on the Cleveland Browns to start off this edition of TRS.

The biggest news is with the Browns on the defensive side of the football as defensive coordinator Ray Horton was fired for the second time after one year in Cleveland and replaced by Gregg Williams,most recently the defensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Rams..
Horton's second tenure was no better than his first as the Browns finished 31st in the league in defense in looking almost inept at times.
Horton wasn't at fault for the lack of talent and it wasn't his fault that much of that talent (especially on the defensive line) was better suited for a style of defense that Horton runs in the 3-4,but good teams coaches and personnel departments are able to adjust to what they have to work with.
Horton and the Browns were unable to make that work.

The Browns have tried to emulate Pittsburgh's 3-4 for years with little success and while some of that can be credited to coaches insisting on running the 3-4 when the talent indicated the 4-3 would be the better choice,I blame the various personnel departments for drafting players that weren't a fit for the defense.
Every year,I'll be watching the draft and Pittsburgh will take someone on day two that I'll turn to whoever is watching with me and comment "That guy isn't rated as high by me as this guy at that position,but he is perfect for what they do".
The Browns never do that-they always take a player and shoehorn him into a rigid slot that often does not suit him.
For example look at this season with Emanuel Ogbah,who surged forward after being moved to end following being forced to learn on the fly as a standup outside linebacker in the 3-4.
The Browns took a nice player and forced him to adjust to a new position just as he was learning the speed of pro football,which is exactly what a young player doesn't need.
Ogbah,by the way,should thrive in the 4-3 and under Gregg Williams,the Browns defensive line should be a pretty good one assuming the Browns keep the top pick and use it for Texas A&M's Myles Garrett or even Alabama's Jonathan Allen.
Take either player on one end,Ogbah on the other,Danny Shelton and Jamie Meder at the tackles with the Williams philosophy of constantly putting heat on the passer and you have a defensive line capable of producing a pass rush not seen in Cleveland for years...

Gregg Williams has ran successful defenses for years and despite the struggles of the Rams of late,I don't blame that on Williams defense as the issue there is as simple as teams putting eight and nine players in the box to stop Todd Gurley.
The Rams have some talented players on defense too,which no matter the scheme-it always comes back to talent.
Williams has ran some of the top defenses in the game at Tennessee,Buffalo,Washington and even New Orleans and won a Super Bowl there,before the "Bounty Gate" debacle  saw him suspended for a season.
That fiasco,which cost him a year of his career,has tarnished the Williams resume' a bit and I doubt that he'll ever get another chance to be a head coach (he was the coach of the Bills for a few years),but the facts remain that Gregg Williams is a excellent defensive coordinator,players love playing for him and his system and he brings that attacking attitude that the Browns have lacked for years.
I doubt the Browns will be getting pushed around much longer by the Steelers and Ravens (on a intimidation level,not on the scoreboard right away) against a Gregg Williams defense and the intensity that will be brought to Cleveland.

I prefer the 4-3 if everything is the same (sometimes your talent best fits a 3-4 and if that's the case-use it) because in my opinion,it is easier to get heat on the passer using that system,but I'm flexible enough to be open to a 3-4,but the 3-4 hasn't worked here under several regimes and the one time that things did seem to be progressing was with the 4-3 with Tom Heckert draftees which were promptly dumped over the side by the Joe Banner/Mike Lombardi bunch.
I really like this move and I think the Browns should make a move forward on defense (Like they could get worse) next season with Gregg Williams running the defense...

This article was being saved for a cleaning of the inbox,but since I did a Browns post,I decided to use it here as the always controversial Tony Grossi on ESPN Cleveland rips the Browns season ending press conference with Sashi Brown,Paul DePodesta,Jimmy Haslem and Hue Jackson to call them out on various mind-boggling dumb statements on the state of the franchise..
I don't always agree with Grossi,but his work is much more on base than some of the"touch football" bunch in Cleveland media.....


Saturday, January 7, 2017

Podcast:Special Guest Kyle Goings

Special Guest Kyle Goings chats about the Giants system,we talk Browns and Ohio State coordinators and a request for podcast input...

Pigskin Picking Machine

All four NFL playoff games and the national title game on this weeks PPM.

Last Week: 8-2
Overall: 111-45

National Championship
Clemson over Alabama 34-30

NFL Playoffs
Oakland over Houston 13-10
Pittsburgh over Miami 28-19
Seattle over Detroit 24-16
Green Bay over N.Y.Giants 30-26

Friday, January 6, 2017

Cavaliers reportedly to trade for Kyle Korver

It's not official yet,but it appears that the Cleveland Cavaliers are far from finished with tinkering with their roster as the Cavaliers are reported to have added sharpshooter Kyle Korver from the Atlanta Hawks.

The cost is some type of combination of the cap number from the retired Mo Williams, Mike Dunleavy,who hasn't worked out since being acquired from the Chicago Bulls and the Cleveland 2019 first rounder,which will have the typical 20 stipulations that most NBA trades for draft picks have for various scenarios.
The pick is the guaranteed part that the Hawks would keep with the Williams expiring contract and Dunleavy with high possibilities of being moved along to another team either in this deal or a side deal that the Hawks could make before the trade deadline.

In order for the Cavaliers to comply with the NBA rule of not trading first round picks,Cleveland needed to get their 2018 first rounder back,which they had sent to Portland in the Anderson Varejao trade last season.so Cleveland sent their 2017 1st rounder to the Blazers for the 2018 pick,so they could then trade the 2019 pick to Atlanta.
I think I'm dizzy now...

For Cleveland,this deal for the 35 year old Korver not only brings what was expected from Dunleavy,it also is a temporary fix for the absence of JR Smith ,who will miss a total of three months after breaking his thumb.
Korver is one of the best three point shooters in the league and his consistency (40 percent shooting from the distance) brings a shooter to a team that needs it.
Have to love this deal with what Kyle Korver brings to Cleveland.

The trade for Korver is just one of a few moves that the Cavaliers need to do in order to tune up for the playoff drive.
A lack of a backup veteran point guard has been a glaring need since the team allowed Matthew Dellavedova to leave via free agency and a reserve big man is a target with the season ending injury to backup Chris "Birdman" Anderson.

I'll be back to edit this in case there are any substantial changes to the trade...

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Cleaning out the inbox-Non-Sports Version

We return to the inbox for a non-sports cleaning out and we start with a article on one of my favorite films that never was a huge hit.

Bulletproof Action writes on Remo Williams-the Adventure begins.
The 1985 film is based on the Destroyer series of novels and stars Fred Ward,who as Remo Williams was attempting to break loose from character actor status into leading man roles.
After the film disappointed at the box office,Ward would never get another shot at carrying his own films,although he was still sought after for character positions.
The post is very detailed in covering the film with facts on the stars,locations and on the plot.
I always was a fan of this movie and I never understood why it wasn't a bigger hit.
It's currently playing on the Starz networks and if you haven't seen the 1985 film,see what you think....

Megyn Kelly is leaving Fox News for NBC and despite my long-time fandom for Kelly,I'm not sure that this is a great idea.
Kelly will receive a daily show in the afternoons,a Sunday night interview (not sure how that's going work for the network that has Sunday Night Football) and will be involved with political coverage in election years.
Several careers have been damaged by getting away from the genre' that made them successful and so many have failed with daytime talk shows-usually the audience watching network television isn't always interested in substantive topics and that makes it difficult to attract an core group.
Kelly turned down 20 million per year from Fox to stay with them (and they say athletes are overpaid),but Kelly claimed that the easier schedule with NBC was a major factor in her moving on.
It'll be interesting to see if she can succeed where so many have failed....

What has been rumored and thought to have occurred without concrete proof for almost 50 years finally has some teeth behind the claim as a new book about Richard Nixon by author John Farrell (not the manager of the Red Sox) has discovered notes from Nixon chief of staff Bob Haldeman that confirm that Nixon did know about a clandestine partnership to keep South Vietnam from going to the negotiating table faster with the Lyndon Johnson administration.
Had those talks started,they might have swung a hairline election in the direction of Johnson's Vice President and Nixon opponent in the race-Hubert Humphrey.
The New York Times article even shows the notes that Farrell was able to find at the Nixon library among other information about the dealings with South Vietnam and envoy Anna Chennault.
Assuming that these are legitimate and they certainly seem to be,working against your country is beyond my understanding of what a presidential candidate should be doing.
When it comes to politics,the old adage is true-the more things change,the more they stay the same.

We are getting closer and closer to various 50 year anniversary celebrations from the different Apollo missions over the next few years.
The first one to hit the big 5-0 comes in a few weeks with the 50 year mark for Apollo One,which is the mission that caught fire in a test mission and cost the lives of three astronauts.
Over the next five years,we'll have all the Apollo missions being over fifty years old and not a trip to the moon since....

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Forgotten Superstars: Keith Lee

We return to the Forgotten Superstars universe with a look back at my favorite college basketball player of the 1980's that didn't play in the ACC.

Remember as die hard of a Big 10 fan that I am now (and was still so as far as football back then),I was that big of an ACC basketball fan.
However,there were two teams that were from smaller conferences that I always tried to watch and was a fan of-Memphis State of the Metro and later the Great Midwest Conference and UNLV of various conferences in the western US.

My favorite player was a 6'10 forward,who's game was more of a small forward than a power one in Keith Lee,shown to the left with apparently the worlds largest basketball trophy!
Lee's game was an unusual one for its time-a finesse player that played the "4" only because of his height often giving him an advantage over opposing defenders along with an outside shooting skill that was ahead of its time,as noted.
Lee could post up and often did,but he had another skill that went beyond being a inside scorer and rebounder.

Lee had arguably the best set of hands that I ever saw on a big man and he was a terrific passer and catcher.
All too often,catching the basketball is a skill taken for granted,but good ones manage to corral off kilter passes and the really good ones are able to catch the ball by the seams and have the ball in position to shoot quicker than other players.
Lee always seemed to be in position to get his shot off quickly and for a big man,Lee had such passing skills that you would expect to see from a much smaller player.

If you haven't heard of Keith Lee,I'm sure you are thinking what couldn't he do?
Well,he had an unusual running gait,so he didn't always look like he was going all out,although I believe that was just his style of play and sometimes it looked like he was really bothered by physical play from players trying to guard him.
Other than that as a Memphis State (Now known as Memphis) player,there wasn't much to criticize him for.
Lee took Memphis State to a Final Four,3 times an All-American (2 first teams and a second),is still the leader in all time scoring at Memphis and has had his 24 retired by the Tigers.

All and that and you can see why I was excited and hoped that Lee would be the first round pick of the Cavaliers in the 1985 draft.
I didn't have the USA network,which showed the draft then,but I remember hearing on the radio that Lee had been picked by the Chicago Bulls after the Cavaliers had passed over him for Charles Oakley of Virginia Union-A NAIA school!
I was unhappy until I heard the Cavaliers had traded Oakley and their 2nd round pick (Calvin Duncan) to the Bulls for Lee and their young point guard,Ennis Whatley,who had been the Bulls first round pick the season before.
I was thrilled and getting Whatley made this trade look like a huge steal for Cleveland.

What I didn't know was the extent of Keith Lee's knee problems.
Lee would miss the first 24 games of his rookie year and never seemed to catch up.
Lee would miss more time in his second year in Cleveland and only played 13 minutes a game under rookie coach George Karl.
Looking at Karl's career in the league in the 30 years since,Keith Lee was never going to be a George Karl type of player even before his injury problems-the health issues only made those worse.
Lee would miss the entire 87-88 season before being traded to the Nets where he hobbled through 57 games in the final season of his career.
There are so few pictures of Lee as a Cavalier that this one from Getty Images is the only color or action shot that I could find!
Keith Lee played in the era without a mainstream basketball card contract,so you can collect Keith Lee cards very easily- the 1989-90 Hoops set has his only card,a short print with the Nets.

Never a loud player,Keith Lee spent his college career being the great player that didn't have much to say and he's continued that in his retirement.
Lee currently is a high school basketball coach in Memphis giving back to the players and the town that he represented so well.
We welcome Keith Lee to the Forgotten Superstars universe!