I Never Thought There Would Be Another Column About Tom Brady … At Least Not So Soon.

I never thought there would be another column about Tom Brady. At least not so soon. He seems to command attention whether it’s in the thick of the NFL season, or months after. But here we are, not long after the great one ended his all-too-brief retirement to play at least another season. He will be 45 before they 2022 campaign begins. I was thinking how the NFL, as popular a sport as it is, never seems to take a breath. I am aware fans can’t get enough. The season ends, and the combine isn’t far away. Free Agency. Then the NFL draft, then the revealing of the schedule. The NFL networks shows entire games from the past season. Overkill anyone? I wonder what would happen if the pro football calendar included a quiet time. Say, a couple of months of down time, so when the various practices begin again...
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Sunday at the Masters with Two of the Biggest Stories Unfolding at the Same Time

  It was Sunday at the Masters and the two biggest stories were unfolding at the same time at opposite ends of the spectrum. On the second hole, the two hottest golfers on the tour were just at the beginning of their duel for the right to wear the Green Jacket at the end of the day. On the final hole, the man who has been the symbol of the sport, one who had five of those Green Jackets, was completing a grueling and courageous effort that few people ever thought would be possible. Tiger Woods was walking up to the 18th green amid cheers and applause from those behind the ropes and others sitting in the stands. A loud salute of appreciation for the truly brave four days of golf and strenuous walking up and down the hills of the Augusta National terrain. Meanwhile, the battle for the 2022...
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March Madness is Here and Tom Brady is Back

March Madness is here. Tom Brady is in the news again. What a surprise! Oh, March Madness is about the NCAA Basketball Championship. That’s right. I almost forgot. For a second I thought it was about the daily doings of the Greatest of All-Time. I once wrote that I would never use the term GOAT. But I’m breaking that rule. Is the GOAT in? Or is the GOAT out? What is the GOAT thinking? How is the GOAT leaning? Now we know. The GOAT is coming back. His 23rd season. And returning to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  The team is elated. Brady is elated. His family is elated. The world is elated. This may be looked upon as heresy, but frankly, I’ve had it up to here with what #12 is thinking and deciding. It’s actually a good decision. He’s not ready to retire. He thinks he can win another...
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The Experience of Knowing That One Person Who Wouldn’t Give Up On You

No matter how successful you become, there is always a time you remember someone who believed in you and saved you during a period of adversity. Success doesn’t always mean reaching the very top of what you do. It can be a stepping stone, or anything that represents something you wanted to achieve. Often we forget about that special person who bailed you out by giving you a second chance, or even a first chance. I’ve been reading a book, just released by Ian O’Connor, a sportswriter with the New York Post, on the life and career of Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski. Krzyzewski, or Coach K, as he is called (fortunately for us), is retiring, at age 75, at the end of this season after, perhaps, the greatest college coaching career in history.  The early days    He has won more games (1,149) than any coach, won fives national...
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The Broadcasting Carousel of Top Network TV Announcers

  In considering topics to discuss this week, I could have delved into the complicated saga of Phil Mickelson, who has lost most of his sponsors, and has been excoriated by critics of his attempt to break away from the PGA Tour in favor of a super-league promoted by Saudi Arabian interests. I could have jumped into the labor dispute that has delayed, if not ruined the Major League Baseball season. A lockout by the owners which is so ill-timed when you think of what sports followers went through with the pandemic a short two years ago. Baseball needs the fans more than the fans need baseball. But I’ve elected to focus on the crazy goings-on involving my business: The broadcasting carousel of the top network TV announcers. Frankly, it all started when CBS paid Tony Romo $17 million when he jumped into the lead booth with Jim Nantz three...
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NFL Season Wound Up with an Incredible Run

  The NFL season wound up with an incredible run. The last six games of the playoffs were all decided by 3 points, capped by a Super Bowl filled with thrilling moments, and captivating emotion. The Los Angeles Rams are the new champs. Not really a surprise when you looked at the contenders at the start of the year. But considering their highs and lows, the moves they made during the season to reach the top, and the tense final moments of the final game, it was more of a time to exhale, than acknowledging a foregone conclusion. Now, the team the Rams defeated, well, that’s another matter. For the Cincinnati Bengals, winners of a total of only six games in 2019, and 2020, their Super Bowl appearance was unthinkable back in September. But they came within a whisker of pulling an upset for their first Super Bowl title. The...
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It’s Super Bowl Time — But for NFL, Unsettling Developments Make it Much More

  For the NFL, this is the week of The Game. It’s Super Bowl time. But for the NFL, unfortunately, it is much more. Unsettling developments have arisen, ranging from the never-ending challenge of hiring minority head coaches, to the alarming accusation of an owner offering to pay a head coach to lose games in order to gain the top pick in the draft. Brian Flores, the deposed head coach of the Miami Dolphins brought suits against the Dolphins, the New York Giants and the Denver Broncos alleging a pattern of racist hiring by the league and racial discrimination during the interview process in Denver and New York, as well as during his time with the Dolphins. Brian Flores     Flores was fired following a season in which his team started the year 1-7, then won 8 of its last 9 games. He accomplished a winning record in 2020...
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NFL Conference Championship Weekend Recap

  Frankly I didn’t think the NFL’s conference championship weekend was going to approach the resounding excitement of the four games played the previous week. But it actually did. If you looked at the two contests, nearing halftime of one and at the end of the third quarter in the other, you might have thought the AFC and NFC Championship battles to determine this year’s Super Bowl matchup, were both letdowns. And why not? The Kansas City Chiefs appeared headed to their third consecutive Super Bowl appearance, scoring touchdowns the first three times they had the ball, leading the surprising Bengals 21-3, with less than two minutes remaining in the half. Cincinnati finally scored a TD with 1:15 left, and the Chiefs, passing up a field goal, failed to get a quick-answer touchdown of their own on fourth and goal at the one. So, it was still 21-10 KC. Who knew the...
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Football Playoff Recap

Have you ever seen a better weekend of playoff football from this past weekend? I haven’t. Every game was better than the previous one. It didn’t seem that would be possible. But it was. And that last one. Wow, that last one. I can say this. I’ve been watching the NFL for over 70 years, and I’ve never seen one like the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills staged into the night at Arrowhead Stadium. Never. There have been dramatic finishes, amazing comebacks, improbable winning touchdowns and shocking upsets, but nothing like those two heavyweights displayed last Sunday evening. It was a classic back-and-forth shootout that reached a crescendo with 25 points scored within the last two minutes of regulation thanks to the remarkable brilliance of the two quarterbacks, Patrick Mahomes of the Chiefs, and the Bills’ Josh Allen. Mahomes moves on   Josh can only watch     But...
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NFL Playoff Battle, the Search for New Head Coaches, and Wild-Card Weekend Recap

There are two classes of NFL teams right now. The ones battling in the playoffs, and the ones searching for new head coaches, General Managers, or both. There are eight teams still alive in the drive to the Super Bowl, and eight clubs in the process of finding new decision-makers. Wild-Card weekend was hardly wild. Several of the contests were one-sided, and won in decisive fashion. Bills quarterback Josh Allen was nothing short of brilliant in leading Buffalo’s rout of the Patriots, setting up another duel of top of-the-line QB’s with Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. Kansas City crushed Pittsburgh in what is likely the last career game for the great Ben Roethlisberger. Bills-Chiefs is the top game coming up.   The Great Josh Allen   The defending champion Bucs outclassed the Eagles in the NFC starting their run at a second straight Super Bowl crown. Two other games had...
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Finally, The Champions!

  When all is said and done, the college football team rated the best in the land practically all season, wound up the champion after all. Sure, there was drama as the end was in sight in the final month, but when the dust cleared in Indianapolis last Monday, there was no doubt. The Georgia Bulldogs won the national championship over Alabama, 33-18, responding to the lingering question as to whether they could avenge their only loss, a 41-24 thrashing to the Crimson Tide in the SEC title game. Georgia wins title!     They did, in decisive fashion. Outsiders seem to always feel that a crushing defeat leaves the victim so wounded and demoralized that there is no way they can recover. But that’s why they are outsiders. The truth is, unless you are with a team day-to-day, and are aware of how they operate and go about their...
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Enjoying the Red Zone by the NFL Network

If I knew how good the Red Zone was I would have retired years before I officially did last March. The Red Zone for those unaware, is the Sunday presentation by the NFL Network cutting from game-to-game, often in frenetic fashion, to bring the entire league’s action to viewers. They cut to games when a team is threatening to score. My tongue is planted firmly in my cheek when I say I would have retired sooner to enjoy the Red Zone. My friends have told me over the years that they’ve heard my voice describing plays. But I never realized how exciting it can be to be on the other side. Especially when several games are coming down the stretch with the outcome in doubt and so much riding on the result. That was the case last weekend, you couldn’t have scripted a more dramatic scenario. Here was Kansas City,...
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Boycott the Winter Olympics

The United States should refuse to send its athletes to the Winter Olympics in China, scheduled to commence February 4th. I realize our Olympians have trained long and hard for their dream which for most is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. While I’m aware of their sacrifice and dedication in earning a place on the team to represent the U.S. in the games, I cannot possibly know to the degree they worked to get there and what they went through. I also have no idea what it would mean to be bitterly disappointed by not competing. Nevertheless, world events must take precedence over the dreams of any athlete and must dictate the stance of our country in participating. I wish the Winter Olympics were being held virtually anywhere else but in China, where there have been actions against human life and decency that cannot be ignored. There are concentration camps that imprison members of a...
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John Madden — The Best of All Time Expert Sports Analyst on Television

In a shocking development, the great John Madden passed away this past Tuesday morning only days after the documentary on the man aired on Fox. I wrote about him in November 2019, and in celebration of the 90-minute program, I reprinted the column. I share so many memories of having known him and now they will be etched forever in a special way, now that he is gone. The introduction to the original column follows, with my thoughts of him expressed more than two years ago:   ________________________________________________________________ A 90-minute documentary on John Madden aired on Fox last week and it lived up to its advance billing.  It was titled “All-Madden”, and it chronicled the man, now 85, who jumped from being one of the more successful NFL head coaches into a legendary figure that transcended his role as a television expert-analyst. He was the best ever, in any sport,...
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Two Titles of Newspaper Columns Which Stood the Test of Time

In the long history of sports reporting in newspapers, there were two titles of columns which stood the test of time. One, we’ve dealt with in the past: Jimmy Cannon’s “Nobody Asked Me, But…….” The other, was headed by “Notes on a Scorecard”, originally penned, I believe, by Alan Malamud, a Los Angeles writer. There is a strong possibility, he picked it up from from a writer long before his tenure. In any event, here is our version of “Notes on a Scorecard”. By far, the biggest story of the past sports weekend was Tiger Woods return to competition at the PNC Championship.       It’s totally incredible that we could even write these words, considering his near-death car crash last February that required multiple surgeries on his right leg. He struggles to walk and in a father-son tournament, played with his 12-year old son Charlie, whose swing looked...
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The Bitter and the Sweet in One Sports Week

There’s bitter and sweet in the sports world this week and we’ll touch on both. Let’s begin with the positive. First off, I don’t remember when the NFL has had so many teams with either a shot at a division crown or a playoff berth at this point in the season. Most teams have five games remaining, which is a lot of games, but considering the fact that usually at this point there are many teams with no hope whatsoever, you have to consider this a sparkling year. I don’t feel a two game lead is a commanding advantage at this point. There are only two divisions which appear safe and sound for the leaders. The Packers in the NFC North, and the defending Super Bowl champion Buccaneers in the NFC South are home free. The rest are still in a dogfight. That also means if you’re only two losses...
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Fall Birthday Cruise to Ports in Greece, Italy and Spain

    One thing I have not been able to do in the last 50 years is to travel in the fall. When you’re broadcasting NFL football, you’re out of action basically from August through December. You can’t really go anywhere when you have prep during the week, travel on Fridays and don’t return till late Sunday night or Monday if you have a game on the west coast. If you fly back late Sunday evening after working a Rams game for instance, you get back early Monday morning. It’s called a red-eye folks.  And it’s not fun. But now, all bets are off. Since I’m retired I can go anywhere anytime. And so we did. Jamie and I went on a cruise to ports in Greece, Italy and Spain. If I zero in on the one compelling highlight of the cruise experience, it was the music onboard. It was uplifting, stirring, and exhilarating....
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NFL has Reached the 2021 Halfway Mark

    It’s halftime. The NFL has reached the halfway mark in the 2021 campaign, (well, since there are 17 games to the regular season it is to some), and a time to see what’s what. An advisory here. Don’t be fooled into drawing conclusions based on what we’ve seen so far.  Many, if not most observers get on and off the bandwagon week to week. Just so you know, it’ll all come down to the last month, probably the last two weeks. We see it every year. This one is no different. We’ve also learned not to assume anything. Week 8 told us that. On the Thursday night going into the weekend, the Cardinals and Packers presented the most compelling matchup of the season to date. The Arizonans were the big surprise of the NFC, sporting the only unbeaten record in the entire league. The Aaron Rodgers Packers had won seven straight...
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The Romantic Aspects of Listening to Sports Broadcasts on the Radio

  There was an essay in last week’s Wall Street Journal that piqued my interest and provoked me to write further on the subject. It was penned by Jared Diamond and it was about the unique, often romantic aspects of listening to baseball broadcasts on radio. Certainly, a way of life that existed decades and generations ago, that have taken a backseat to the television and streaming world of today. This is not to say it doesn’t exist today, it does.  But not like the days of yesteryear. It was the way youngsters were attracted to what was once the most compelling sport which captivated so many of us, including myself, that still brings back memories of a time that makes us smile. In the essay, the incomparable Vin Scully, the former Dodgers voice of 67 years, talks of taking a plate of crackers and a pillow into the living...
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Manning-cast on Monday Night Football — Revolutionizing Sports Viewing

    A phenomenon in television viewing has emerged this season with the Manning-cast on Monday Night Football. What in heaven’s name is the Manning-cast you would say if you aren’t aware? The Manning-cast as it’s come to be known, is the pairing of the great two quarterback brothers, Peyton and Eli Manning. They appear separate from the usual broadcast on ESPN’s presentation of the NFL’s Monday night game. So, you can either watch the traditional telecast of the game with the commentators, Steve Levy, Brian Griese, and Louis Riddick, view the two Mannings, appearing in separate boxes on screen with the action on the field, or switch around and see both. I’m going to say they’re revolutionizing sports viewing, because the audience has increased solidly every week they’ve been on. Peyton and Eli appeared the first three weeks of the season, have been off the last three, and will resume this coming Monday night....
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Two Legendary Sports Rivalries – Both about Baseball, My First Love

  I’ve been captivated by two legendary sports rivalries in my life. One was personal. The other, professional. Both were about baseball, my first love. Professionally, of course, nothing was more intense, heated, even hated, than the Red Sox and the Yankees. They had been strong rivalries forever, but it became real in my world when I began telecasting Red Sox games in 1975. This season they were the two wild-card entries in the American League playoffs. So, they played one game to survive, and the Sox prevailed to move on in post-season and as of this writing they are still alive and kicking. The Giants and the Dodgers were the personal rivalry for me that grabbed my attention in 1951, a magical year for sure, but lasted a mere seven years, until they both moved to the west coast. That’s far too short for a youngster, passionate about baseball....
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Fake News is Alive and Well in Sports

  I gotta laugh. Fake news is alive and well in sports as it has been in the news. Meaning, when the actual event differs from the media, they are never accountable. Prior to the incredibly over-hyped week four return of the great Tom Brady to New England, all we read and heard was the deep determination of Brady to embarrass his long-time coach Bill Belichick. Brady was primed to roll up the score on the villain who had the audacity to allow the QB to depart, sign with Tampa Bay, and win a Super Bowl, thus exposing the coach as an utter fool. Now, the much-heralded return to the scene of six Super Bowl triumphs, and the chance to the show the coach, on his home turf, who really was responsible for those trophies. Brady vs Pats     Guess what folks? They did it as a team. For 20...
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Ryder Cup Remains One of the Most Compelling Events in Any Sport

The reason why the Ryder Cup remains one of the most compelling events in any sport was etched on the tear-filled face of Rory McIlroy after winning his golf match on the final day of the three-day competition at Wisconsin’s Whistler Straits course. McIlroy’s victory leading off the match-play singles finale had little effect on America’s steamrolling beatdown over their European rivals. The U.S. was never challenged. Pumped Up       US Victory     Big Hug     After building a commanding 11-5 lead after the first two days of foursome, and fourball (alternate shot) play, all the Americans  needed was three wins and a halve (tie) in the final head-to-head battles to capture the Cup. But this group was not merely content on simply winning, they were out for blood. No team had ever amassed 19 points since the new format of 28 matches was adopted in...
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NFL’s Week Two Recap

    I refused to fall into the trap of overreacting to the NFL’s first week of action and won’t do the same after week two.   But there are a few early observations that bear watching.  Why do we not go crazy after one game? Just check out the Steelers, Saints, Dolphins, Seahawks, and Ravens to name a few.  After whipping the Bills in Buffalo, Pittsburgh came home to lose to the Raiders. More on them later.  After Jameis Winston “finally” got smart and avoided throwing interceptions, he tossed a pair and fell back into character. For Miami, after beating the Patriots in New England, they lost their hopeful savior Tua the QB and were blown out by the Bills.  Seattle winners in week one, blew a lead at home to the Titans, and lost in OT.  Never count out the Ravens who went down for the count in...
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Novak Djokovic – So Close to Winning a Grand Slam

The entire world of the great sport of tennis waited patiently to witness history. In fact, the moment that would certainly come was a sterling attraction to anyone who followed sports of any kind. Who wouldn’t? It had been 52 years since Aussie Rod Laver won the game’s Grand Slam.  The Grand Slam…. The Australian Open in January, the French Open which starts in late May, Wimbledon, which takes place in late June and early July, and the U.S. Open which starts in late August. And it was on the second in September, history was in the offing at the Finals of the U.S. Open. Think of it.  Not one of the brilliant men’s tennis performers who graced the courts since 1969 were able to achieve that monumental feat. Not Roger Federer, not Rafael Nadal, not Pete Sampras, not John McEnroe, not Bjorn Borg, not Andre Agassi, not Jimmy Connors,...
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Another NFL Season is Upon Us

  I know. Another NFL season is upon us. That means it’s time for predictions. Time to reveal who will succeed and who won’t? Who wins the division races? Who makes the playoffs? Who gets to the Super Bowl? Who wins the Super Bowl? It’s September and we’re supposed to take out our crystal ball from the moth balls and show how smart we are. If you know so much, buddy, tell me how the upcoming season will go. Well, as many of you know, I think predictions are ridiculous. I believe it’s a total waste of time to forecast the future on anything. How wrong are meteorologists? You know the answer to that. How can you say what will happen in the NFL, for instance, when there are significant factors, such as injuries to key personnel, especially quarterbacks. Another important issue will be players sidelined due to COVID. For...
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Mt. Rushmore View of Former Play-By-Play Broadcasters

Mount Rushmore in South Dakota has great majestic symbolism for our country. I notice that more and more people use Mount Rushmore to represent greatness in a wide variety of ranking the best of the best in almost any field of endeavor. So why not join the growing crowd? Thus, I will present my personal Mount Rushmore for my own profession, network play-by-play broadcasting in the four major professional sports. The man on the far left would be Vin Scully, arguably the greatest baseball announcer of all-time.  Vin Scully   I believe this would be the only category that would be uncontested. I first heard the golden tones of Scully when he was the third man in the Brooklyn Dodgers booth in the 50’s. He was top-notch right out of the gate. Ultimately he rose to #1 while the Dodgers still played in Brooklyn. But it was when the Dodgers...
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NFL Football is Underway

      NFL football is underway. But it’s the pre-season variety.  Not very exciting. So why are we spending any time on it? Two reasons. The first, is to put them in perspective.  Pre-season is of value to the teams who can see things, especially in judging the players who have a chance to win a roster spot. Most teams already know who will be around for the start of the season, with the exception of a few openings. Starters hardly play. Why risk injury? No team game plans for these contests. The  offense and defense they will display in game 1 is drilled solely in practices. What is really ridiculous is the way the media over-emphasizes events in these games as if it were the playoffs. They rate the performances of rookie quarterbacks, and other players and forget it’s just one preseason game, with little regard to the...
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Significant Lifetime Moments at Fox Sports

Last weekend was a significant lifetime moment for two of my colleagues at Fox Sports. Jimmy Johnson, the former head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, and John Lynch, who was my partner on NFL telecasts for two years, were inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.   Finally, John Lynch HOF   The week started with a special presentation by Fox Sports paying homage to my career after announcing my retirement in March. Originally, when asked to appear at the football seminar, I was reluctant to do so. Not masquerading under the guise of false humility, which I abhor, I wanted to leave my retirement after a long five-plus decade as a broadcaster simply and quietly, with little fanfare. But my boss, Eric Shanks, Fox Sports CEO, and Executive Producer, insisted that I show up one last time at our gathering of 200 broadcasters and production...
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Simone Biles, Aaron Rodgers and the New SEC

    What are people talking about in sports these days? The answer is open for discussion. But I’m going to say it’s about Simone Biles, Aaron Rodgers and the move from the Big 12 to the SEC for Oklahoma and Texas in the world of college athletics. Maybe Aaron Rodgers is old news. Granted, that story has been run into the ground. But since NFL training camps have begun, and Rodgers has reported to the Packers, it’s time to wrap up that soap opera.     Maybe those who are not into the big picture of college football have little interest in schools jumping from one conference to another. Those folks, too, may have a point. But it’s a telling development that could actually have an impact on schools everywhere. But there’s no disputing the Simone Biles story, which has dominated the Tokyo Olympics. Simone Biles     Simone...
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Let’s Talk Olympics

  Let’s talk Olympics. Despite no fans in the incredibly costly venues,  the COVID situation (whatever it is on a particular day), the threat of cyclones,  low ratings etc. etc. etc., the games are underway and they are meaningful. Once the decision was made to hold the Olympics after the one year postponement, the competition ensues, whatever the obstacles. The first thing we have to consider, are all the athletes who have dedicated their dreams to competing, sacrificing a great deal, and dedicating  themselves to representing the United States in the greatest international arena. Imagine the immense letdown and disappointment when then-President Jimmy Carter declared that the U.S. would not compete in the 1980 summer games in the SovietUnion. So, for those athletes who know what it means to represent America, and are proud to wear the Red, White, and Blue, my hats off to them.  I am proud of...
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Another Golf Major and Another First

  Another golf major and another first. This time, Collin Morikawa in capturing the Open played in Sandwich, England at Royal St. George’s, became the first in history to win two majors in his first attempt. Morikawa made his debut at the 2020 PGA Championship and won that one.   The Champ     And at the same time, joined Tiger Woods at taking home two majors before the age of 25. It was a highly contested final round with Jordan Spieth winding up two shots behind the champion. It was a bitter sweet weekend for the Texan, who had to feel buoyed by regaining his form which has taken some grueling work in getting back. On the other hand, Spieth bogeyed the final two holes in the third round which damaged his chances, including a failed 2-foot putt on the final hole which never came close to the hole....
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The Sport of Fishing

  One sport I’ve never written about is fishing. If you weren’t sure, fishing is definitely a sport. It is something that requires skill, physical exertion, and considering the multitude of tournaments throughout the world, it is competitive. That makes it a sport. I regret I have never done much of it, because it has tremendous appeal. I know baseball players and golfers who talk of the relaxation, calm and overall atmosphere of fishing. Here on the Thousand Islands on the St.Lawrence River, fishing is a way of life. I want to learn how. I’ve gone out a few times with Pat Snyder who is a local fixture and the one you want to connect with if you have a group that is looking for a day fishing on a boat with maybe a shore dinner afterwards. He helped me with putting the proper bait on the line, and showed...
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Bad News at Muirfield and College Athlete Compensation…

US Open Champ       He was the last man standing. Two weeks ago he suffered a huge disappointment when a virtual certain victory was snatched away in a most unusual circumstance. But not a shock considering the times. On this occasion, the “karma” he talked about afterwards, became a reality. Jon Rahm won the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. His first triumph in a major. Then first Spaniard to capture this particular championship. Isn’t it amazing how with every golf major as of late, there is either some kind of historic note, human interest element, or irony wrapped around the champion? Let’s take a quick look. A year ago in the year of the pandemic, Bryson DeChambeau, won his first major title at the U.S. Open, which had been postponed for three months and played without spectators. He turned a two-stroke deficit into a rousing six-stroke victory on...
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Stanley Cup Playoff Time

Every year, it seems, there is a compelling story developing surrounding the Stanley Cup playoffs. This time it’s the New York Islanders, who, some 40 years ago, were the supreme dominant power of the National Hockey League, capturing four consecutive Cup championships. Currently, the Islanders are battling the strong Tampa Bay Lightning in a series to determine one-half of the Stanley Cup finals. Las Vegas, and the Montreal Canadiens are fighting out in the other series. The Canadiens, one of the original six teams in league’s history are also a fascinating story, considering what that franchise has meant to the sport. But the Islanders are in the spotlight here, and the focus is on the man behind their success. Islanders   Unlike Scotty Bowman, who is arguably the greatest coach ever with nine Stanley Cup titles with three different teams, this man is not as visible as a head coach...
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I Thought Our Little World of Sports Would Be Different in 2021

    I thought our little world of sports would be different in 2021, but I was wrong. I figured once the severest effects of the pandemic had lessened, things would be more back to normal. That hasn’t been the case. I was convinced that athletes and fans would be so grateful the worst might be over, that we might be returning to a kind of golden times. Nope. Instead, we have experienced horrendous fan behavior. Athletes have been assaulted by a variety of methods. Those who play the games have raised the issue of mental health. And in the most recent incident, a professional golfer, on the brink of winning a significant tournament, and ready to cash in monetarily big time, saw it all disappear in a blink of an eye. Jon Rahm, one of the young giants who has emerged on the Tour, was ready to sail home...
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Tired of the Never-Ending Aaron Rodgers Soap Opera

    I guess I’m an old-fashioned guy. I believe that there are employers and there are employees. I am of the opinion that there are those who head companies and have the responsibility of calling the shots, making the decisions they feel are best for the organization. And those who are paid to produce the best product possible. I don’t feel, using an old term, that the inmates should run the asylum. I don’t care whether the company makes computers or fields a professional football team. There is only one way to do it right. That’s why I am tired of this never-ending Aaron Rodgers soap opera. I realize pro football is an entertainment enterprise. Fans are critical to the success of the sport. The fans who attend the games. The fans who watch. The fans who follow from afar. Aaron Rodgers     Aaron Rodgers is one of...
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Thumbs Up All the Way for Phil Mickelson, and happy retirement to Marv Albert

  It was thumbs up all the way for Phil Mickelson. In what was one of the top moments of the year in sports, and undoubtedly the banner moment in Mickelson’s career, the golfer who many understandably said was no longer a threat to win a major, captured the PGA Golf Championship. Not only did he achieve the victory on the difficult Kiawah Ocean Course with winds creating chaos, especially on the final day, but he had to hold off some mighty challengers in the process. Yes, Brooks Koepka, was coming off knee surgery which left him unquestionably less than 100%, but Koepka is 19 years younger than Mickelson and has won the PGA title twice and the U.S. Open on two occasions. Also, Louis Oosthuizen, who won the Open Championship at St. Andrews in Scotland in 2010, was in the hunt as well. I guess I buried the lead. ...
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The Annual NFL Draft

  Outside of the Super Bowl and the opening weekend of the season, what truly captivates fans is the annual NFL Draft. Before the ink is dry on the three-days of 32 teams picking through seven rounds, there is immediate speculation on next year’s draft. It never ends, and there is no down-time when it comes to the draft. This year’s draft was about two things. Quarterbacks and players from the University of Alabama. Eight quarterbacks were chosen in the first three rounds the most in the common draft era which began in 1967. Six Alabama players were picked among the first 24 selected, including four of the top 15. Two more members of the Crimson Tide were gobbled up in the second round. If this doesn’t solidify the recruiting future for ‘Bama head coach Nick Saban, I don’t know what does. If you’re a prime prospect coming out of...
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The Triumph By 47-Year Old Stewart Cink

I was going to discuss the reasons why the great game of baseball has fallen prey to a game that is anything but the sport most of us have loved. It was obviously not going to be a positive topic. Instead, there was a moment in sports that was so uplifting and heart-warming that it took center stage and moved the baseball issue to the background for now. And the watching the news in these times, makes it even more imperative to bring this event to light. I’m talking about the triumph by 47-year old Stewart Cink last weekend at the Heritage Open Golf tournament at Hilton Head, SC.     No, it obviously was not one of pro golf’s majors, and many of the stars of the game did not compete.  But that’s not the point. There are the facts surrounding his win and more down the line on who...
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Why is it Ridiculous to Predict Who will Win a Golf Tournament?

Why is it ridiculous to predict who will win a golf tournament? The answer: Who can know how anyone will perform, especially the player himself. The 2021 Masters is history, and it was wonderful to see it played in Augusta in April with all the sights and sounds which have made it unique and special. The new Masters Champion   I know you hear it all the time, but the words “a tradition unlike any other” can’t be overused.  It’s a fact. Here’s another fact. Defending champ Dustin Johnson, and Rory McIlroy, did not make the cut. Slugger Bryson DeChambeau tied for 46th at +5 struggled throughout,  and Justin Thomas at even par for the championship was never a serious contender. The much anticipated back-nine excitement on the final day never materialized, except for a moment of drama at the 15th and 16th holes. Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama, who led by...
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Bringing an End to My Broadcasting Days

  So, the time has come for me to bring an end to my broadcasting days. After 55-years on the air, I will no longer be announcing football games for Fox Sports, and I leave with exceptional memories of events I covered, the people I worked for AND with, and looking forward to doing more of the same things I have been doing. It will really not involve a significant adjustment. It will simply mean I now have a clean slate to do the things I like doing, without a work schedule to think about. Don’t get me wrong, I loved doing games. In all sports. Actually, I never worked a day in my life. You may wonder, why would I give that up? Yes, it’s been fun. Physically I believe I could go on another five years.  But it’s not about that. The truth is, I don’t NEED to...
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It is Really March Madness this Year

  It is really March Madness this year. The annual NCAA basketball tournament, which took a hiatus last season for obvious reasons, has been labeled March Madness for its unpredictable moments and wild and crazy game endings. It seems to always live up to the billing. But this time it’s off the charts. Not even considering what’s been happening on the court so far, the fact that the whole shebang is taking place in one city is a story in itself. All the action is taking place in Indianapolis. It’s always been about 16 different sites for the opening rounds. Four more for the Sweet Sixteen. And then, another for the Final Four. On the court, the appeal of March Madness has been the prospects for upsets, and the emergence of a Cinderella team. Even for those who are not sports junkies, the tournament brings out the passion of those...
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50th Anniversary of “The Fight of the Century”

  Last week was the 50th anniversary of what was called “The Fight of the Century”. It was the very first fight between the former champion Muhammad Ali, and the current champion Joe Frazier. Ali was unbeaten at the time, but his title had been taken away due because he refused to enter the draft. His controversial anti-war stance based on his religious beliefs raised a furor in America. Frazier, the pride of Philadelphia, had won the heavyweight championship in Ali’s absence and was undefeated as well. He wanted to show those who were reluctant to respect him with Ali out of action, that he was indeed the best in his class. Ali wanted to prove that he could regain the crown that was taken away from him. Many people still remember the classic at New York’s Madison Square Garden. Hundreds of thousands have read about it. Many sports confrontations fail...
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The Unenviable Joy of Working With Top-of-the-Line Broadcasters

    Over a half-century, I’ve had the unenviable joy of working with the top-of-the-line broadcasters in all sports. I can say, without exaggeration, that every one of them were talented and worked hard at their craft.  Obviously, some were better than others, just as I was considered perhaps better than others by some, as well as not being up to the level of others. That always goes with the territory. When I’m asked who left an indelible impression on me, and why, I seem to always respond with three names. Amazingly, it ends there. It’s not because the many greats I worked with were forgettable. Hardly. If I mention the names, Madden, Summerall, Jack Buck, Aikman, Packer, Raftery, and countless others, you’d quickly say the three are in that group. Not so. They were the stars of their time, for sure. Actually, I was fortunate to have even shared...
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Tiger Woods is Alive – and that is the Only Thing that Matters

He is alive. And that is the only thing that matters. Tiger Woods survived a horrific one-car accident in southern California, which is truly a miracle if you saw his SUV after hurtling down a hill when too much speed caused him to lose control on a dangerous roadway. Dangerous if you’re driving too fast, for sure. He might have been late to a commercial shoot he was scheduled to do.   Whatever the reason, Woods was extremely fortunate he is still with us. More important that he is still with his children.           The injuries were severe. Several fractures to his right leg. A rod inserted into his tibia, after lengthy surgery. There will be immense rehabilitation. The Tiger Woods story is one for the ages in the sports world. Filled with monumental achievements on the golf course and jam-packed with physical and personal drama....
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Let’s Talk About Food

  I’m not hungry right now but I want to talk about food. Why you ask? It’s because I love food. I enjoy a meal while I’m having it. I look forward to the next meal. And I have a pretty good idea what I want for that next meal. In other words, I regard it as an event. Some may be small events, but they are events nonetheless.       I realize there are many who regard food and dining as necessary practices. Some even as necessary evils. You’ve heard the age-old question: Do you live to eat, or eat to live? I live to eat. To me it’s the national pastime not baseball. If you ever see me with a small plate of leaves and vegetables, call the authorities.  Have them take me away. I would waive veggies after the first day of camp!  If you see...
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Bad Taste Left From Recent Hall of Fame Voting Results Lingers

      Thank goodness spring training and the baseball season is upon us because the bad taste left from the recent Hall of Fame voting results lingers. When pitchers and catchers report to camps in preparation for what is scheduled to be a 154-game campaign, perhaps the unfair and unreasonable ramifications of the HOF revelations might dissipate. No one was selected to enter Cooperstown season by the members of the Baseball Writers Association of America who vote each year. You always can make arguments on the merits of the contenders. But there’s one player who has gained ground each year only to fall short. And he fell short by a slim margin again this time. His name is Curt Schilling. And to many writers who make up the panel, and I’m certain to many in the public, he’s unlikeable. That’s because he speaks his mind. Often forcefully. And what he...
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