The Changing Faces of Tennis and More

We were reluctant to declare a changing of the guard in men’s tennis a year ago. But maybe the time has finally come. Carlos Alcaraz, the worthy successor to Rafael Nadal as Spain’s king of the sport, looked the part and more in capturing the Wimbledon crown in 2023, but slipped a bit while Novak Djokovic, the old man of the great trio including Nadal and Roger Federer, flourished. It was at Wimbledon where the then 20-year old Alcaraz outlasted Djokovic, who at 36, came up short in a five-set thriller only to see the Serb turn it on at the U.S. Open. Displaying a remarkable ability to defy age and injury. Still, after his brilliant Wimbledon triumph it seemed the young Spaniard was on his way. But as talented as he is, Alcaraz’ ascent leveled off with unanticipated losses and his own injury problems. At the same time, the...
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Bill Walton (November 5, 1952 – May 27, 2024)

I didn’t get to know Bill Walton until the tail end of his brilliant basketball career. He passed away at the age of 71 last week and everything said about him, all the tributes, all the comments about the man were on the money. He was more than one of the greatest to play the sport. It all started at UCLA during the coaching tenure of John Wooden who guided the Bruins to the most dominant period in the history of college hoops. You can check out what the 6-foot-11 center accomplished at UCLA as well as in his 15-year NBA career. Wooden was the perfect first head coach Walton had. He had the right words at the right time for the big red-head. He was the ideal father figure and the two remained tight as a drum until Wooden’s death in 2010. The coach had a rule, no facial...
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Preaching to the Choir

Let me get this straight. The placekicker for the Kansas City Chiefs gives a commencement talk at a Catholic college and speaks to his Catholic beliefs including his deep respect for his wife’s life as a mother and homemaker and gets ripped for it. Are you kidding? Years ago he would be celebrated for such an impassioned talk on what matters to him. The audience was made up of students who made the choice to attend Benedictine College in Kansas. To use a well-worn cliche, he was speaking to the choir. But he was met with an outcry of protests, many of them cruel and obscene. Harrison Butker is the Chiefs outstanding kicker who commands the unwavering respect and support of his head coach and teammates. They are with him for most of the year and they know who he is and what he is all about. They say they...
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PGYAY!

Last weekend’s PGA Golf Championship, the second of the four major tournaments was fun to watch from start to finish. You had to feel good after viewing this one, but on the morning of the second day it looked like it would go down as a harrowing weekend unlike any in history. If you tuned in early Friday morningyou saw in the semi-darkness someone in handcuffs being guided into a police car. On the rainy streets of Louisville amid police cars and ambulances with flashing lights, Scottie Scheffler, the world’s number one golfer, on his way to jail. Tragically, a man had been struck by a vehicle and killed. Scheffler was taken in after his drove past a police officer demanding he stop, and was charged with dragging the officer until he finally stopped. What an eerie moment. Scheffler was booked, mug shot taken and spent about an hour behind...
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It’s Potpourri Time

It’s potpourri time. For those few who are not familiar with this French word, it means a mixture of things, especially a musical or literary medley. We’ll skip the musical side and go right to the literary. The NHL and NBA playoffs have been underway and they are not short and to the point. They take a long time to play out and they should. To crown a champion in hockey and basketball those who earn a post-season berth deserve their shot. Teams involved all have their peaks and valleys. Even the very best. So much is put on home ice or home court advantage that I feel can be overrated. For example, in the one rare instance I was tuned to one of those talk shows that spend agonizing amounts of time dealing with issues surrounding a particular series, the question was, who had the most pressure, the Knicks...
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The Retired Club

This is about two sports broadcasters who have retired within weeks. They join me as a pair of play-by-play men who have done it for a long time and are now moving into the next phase of their lives. My feeling is that most of you have never heard of either one. That’s okay. It’s more about how the two stayed consistent in their styles, their longevity, and their acceptance by their audiences. If you’re familiar with sports in Boston or New York, who not only know them, you probably spent years, even decades listening to their delivery of the doings of two of your favorite teams. They are, in fact, the lifeblood of what you relied on, depended on, and looked forward to their many broadcasts. Local voices, it’s what sports on the air is really all about. I know, because it represents what mattered to me growing up....
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The NFL Draft

What’s atop the sports leaderboard this week? No games, no tournaments, no on-field competition. The NFL Draft. This league is truly year-round. It really never stops. There is no question people can’t get enough of it. The draft was held in Detroit. It used to be a New York thing every year. How many attended the latest in the Motor City?  700,000. That’s the most ever. How many watched the million TV shows talking about the draft? Record numbers as well. If you need a “franchise” quarterback to have a chance, there are six teams who went for one in the first 12 picks. Some will be successful, many some will be hugely successful. Perhaps some won’t pan out. Mitch Trubisky, who the Bears traded up to get a few years ago is one who didn’t make it. The Bears picked USC’s Caleb Williams number one. No surprise there, and...
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All Bets Are Off

All bets are off. Or should be. It’ll never happen. The cat’s out of the bag. It’s a part of our culture.  It always was. But not to the extent it is now. Danger is lurking. We’ve seen some of it already. The danger is about scandal, and perhaps even worse, addiction. Scandal in sports betting is a part of its history. The Black Sox scandal, Pete Rose, college basketball point-shaving in the 50’s and 60’s, an NBA referee. Those are the events we know about. There are probably many others. Once upon a time, the integrity of the game in all sports was paramount. Commissioners and the respective leagues used that call as the foundation for why we watched, why we rooted, why we were obsessed with sports. There would be no question when we viewed games, that teams were out to win, and players were out to win,...
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The Master of the Masters

Followers of all sports appreciate dominance. The reason they do is that they know they are watching the high standard being set for others to topple, and relish seeing great performances above and beyond the norm. We saw it at the Masters this past week when Scottie Scheffler emerged as golf’s dominant figure with a brilliant, unbreakable showing, to capture his second Masters in three years and continue his amazing run as the sports’ #1 ranked performer for 80 weeks and still going. In the season’s first major, where only eight players finished under-par, Scheffler trailed by one shot after the opening round and took charge the rest of the way. He has not been over-par in what seems like forever, and refused to crack ever so slightly in the final round where his challengers ultimately fell apart. Scheffler is the best out there since Tiger Woods. It’s a tremendous...
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April Madness

Can anyone beat UConn in the Final Four? The national semi-finals are set for this coming Saturday and the national championship game for Monday in Arizona in the always-exciting NCAA basketball tournament. That’s the big question. Connecticut has looked so unbeatable in its first four games it is hard to believe one of the other three teams can knock them off.’ I mean, they’ve demolished everyone, leading by as much as 30 points in each game they’ve played. In the East regional final they broke open their matchup with Illinois with a 30-0 run. The Huskies need two more wins to become the first school since Florida in 2006-07 to capture back-to-back championships. They’ve got four future NBA players, and a head coach that knows how to keep them hungry and go for the jugular. His name is Dan Hurley and he comes from an impressive coaching family. His father,...
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March Madness

March Madness has taken over the sports scene. It never fails to deliver. One and done. Upsets galore. It’s when you fill out your brackets having no idea, as well all know, who is likely to advance. Who picked Oakland to beat Kentucky in the first round? Nobody, except for the students and alumni of that Detroit school. But it’s fun. It was always fun to see how far Syracuse would go in the NCAA tournament. Under now-retired coach Jim Boeheim they played in 35 tournament games, reached the Final Four on five occasions, and won one national championship. Boeheim is one of only two coaches who won over 1000 games (Coach K). He was great for the schoool, and great for the region. Here’s something few people know. Nobody in the history of college basketball or  football, for that matter, has ever been connected with one University as long...
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You, the Weather, and You

What’s the one thing everybody notices every day of their lives? Give up? It’s the WEATHER. Do you really think I’m going to write about the weather? You bet I am. You can call it small talk, but the fact is that the weather is what we see and feel immediately each day that it’s mentioned so often. And why not?“Isn’t this a beautiful day?” When it is said, it is said with the utmost sincerity and appreciation. What’s better than that? It makes people’s mood better. It inspires them. It makes them smile. It makes them happy. Oh, there may be things that are not so good that occur on a beautiful day, but at least it started well. You can’t have everything.Of course, not every day is a beautiful day, in case you didn’t know. What then? Well, you have two choices. You can be glum and unhappy...
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The Latest Rage In Sports

Caitlin Clark is the latest rage in sports. She has done what no one else has ever done. She has scored more points than anyone in major college basketball history. Not only is she the NCAA Division I women’s record-holder, but she has scored more points than Pete Maravich, who held the Division I men’s record. And that’s where the controversy begins. Of course, there has to be a controversy of some kind. No longer can we accept an extraordinary career, tip our hats, bow down with respect, and cheer great performances. No, there has to be some fly in the ointment that is supposed to make us find some kind of negativity. You know who finds all this?  The media. Last Sunday Caitlin Clark scored 35 points against Ohio State in her final game at home playing for Iowa. It was the last time Hawkeye fans would see her...
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Why I don’t watch the NBA All-Star Game…

Why I don’t watch the NBA All-Star Game and why All-Star Games are a thing of the past. While my long broadcasting career involved countless sports, including the NFL, MLB, and college basketball, the NBA was actually my lead franchise. Working the NBA Finals for nine years from the early 80’s through the 1990 season, represented the one time I was the lead announcer. That was at CBS. We aired the game of the week, the top playoff games, and of course, the Finals, the best-of-7 series for the world championship. We also broadcast the annual All-Star Game, which was truly a major event. To earn a starting spot in the game, and to be elected to either the East or West roster, was a feather in the cap of every player. Then, to compete, and try to be a member of the winning team, was the icing on the...
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The Dust Has Cleared

The dust has cleared from the NFL season and the Super Bowl and now it’s time to put a post-script on some of the stories that are still being talked about. Are the Kansas City Chiefs a dynasty? In today’s world of sports it seems there has to be a rating on everything that happens. Is this game the best of all-time? Was that play the best that’s ever been? That had to be the worst play in history. This player is the greatest of all time. You’ve seen it and you get it. What difference does it make? Why can’t we accept the events for what they are? As we all know, time determines how great a player or team really is. So now, the Chiefs have won three Super Bowls in the past five years. I say they have established themselves as the current dominant team in the...
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It Was Super All The Way

It was super all the way. I don’t know exactly why, but in my view the Super Bowl left nothing to be desired. I’m not just talking about the game. It was everything. From the glitzy setting of Las Vegas, the matchup of the two teams, the buzz that surrounded it all week, maybe even the tight end’s girl friend getting there all the way from Tokyo, you name it, this Super Bowl had a special feeling that delivered. Then, there’s the game itself. Could there be a more pulsating, riveting turn of events in the actual contest between the Chiefs and the 49ers? Maybe you can pinpoint other games and other dramatic moments and finishes, but when you put together the whole package, I doubt it. In a coin-flip of a battle going in, this one went into overtime, and it was won on a familiar theme that has...
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The Super Bowl

This is about the Super Bowl which will be played this Sunday. So the reviews will be in, on the game and what I feel, before I sit down and write again. I kind of like that. No place to hide, if I have to hide at all. So let’s get down to business and consider what I regard as a multi-faceted battle that should leave nothing on the table. The defending champs, the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers have met before. Quite recently as a matter of fact. Three years ago the Chiefs rallied from a 20-10 deficit with three fourth quarter touchdowns to win 31-20. It was a crushing turnaround for the Chiefs who gave Andy Reid his first Super Bowl title. Kyle Shanahan, the 49ers head coach is still looking to break through. These opponents know each other pretty much. But don’t pin your hopes...
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Money Talks – the Reason Why Most NFL Players Change Teams

Money talks. That’s the reason why most NFL players change teams. Even if it means going from a contender to a team with little chance. There are countless examples of players who were content to join mediocre clubs for the money. And we’ve seen how their performance reflected the fact they were now comfortable. That’s the reason why many golfers have ditched the PGA Tour for the Saudi-backed LIV Tour.   Huge guaranteed money eliminates the intense desire to practice and prepare to compete to win. The payout is there, win or lose. That’s the reason why west coast schools like UCLA and USC will play in the Big Ten, mostly made up of colleges in the Midwest.        The teams from those two conferences used to play in the Rose Bowl. A one-a-year matchup of champions from those two conferences who rarely opposed each other during the...
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It was Easy to be a Yankee Fan While Growing Up

    When I was growing up if you ran into someone who said he was a Yankee fan you kind of knew he didn’t love baseball for what it was, he just wanted to root for the team that won all the time. It was easy to be a Yankee fan.  They pummeled everyone in the American League, and when the World Series rolled around they were tested a lot more, mostly by the Brooklyn Dodgers, but you knew they ultimately would be popping the corks at the end of the Fall Classic. Why wouldn’t you cheer for the men who wore the pinstripes? Long before my love affair with baseball began in 1951, the Yankees were the team of Ruth, Gehrig, Lazzeri, Dickey, Ruffing, Gomez, and  I could go on and on. When I started following the game, the Yankees were in the midst of winning five consecutive...
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Remembering Tony Siragusa

Tony Siragusa, a defensive tackle who played on one of the finest defensive units of all-time passed away recently. His death hit me hard since I worked with him for several years on my Fox NFL broadcasts. Tony was only 55 years old, which was tragic in itself, and my thoughts of my experience dealing with him week-in-and-week out came to the forefront. If you’re a football fan, you know who he was. If you’re not, let me fill you in. Siragusa played for 12 years. First, for the Indianapolis Colts, and later for the Baltimore Ravens where in his six seasons, played a major role in the Ravens first Super Bowl championship in 2000. Tony played alongside Sam Adams, and with a combined 700 pounds clogging the middle, the Ravens set records in stuffing the run.  The star of the defense was middle linebacker Ray Lewis, another great run...
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Cutting to the Chase with the Pro Golf Circus

  Let’s cut to the chase with this pro golf circus. It’s take the money and run. In case you haven’t followed the battle of the professional golf tours, the established PGA Tour is being challenged by one called the LIV Series. Maybe you don’t care because if you’re a fan of the sport you only want to watch the competition and don’t want to be bothered by all the other stuff. If that’s the way you feel it’s totally understandable. But the fact is, it threatens to change what golf viewers have come to regard as business as usual each weekend. You’ll only get the broad strokes here because it’s mighty complicated and I don’t want you, the reader, to lose interest. At least not yet. But I will offer my opinion on where this will all end up. The LIV Tour is offering the kind of money that...
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Time Out. We’re Taking a Break from Everything, Except for What’s Been on the Mind of Everyone for Over a Week.

Time Out. We’re taking a break from everything, except for what’s been on the mind of everyone for over a week. The horrible tragedy that saw the lives of children and adults taken by an 18-year old killer in Uvalde,Texas. You’ve seen so much, heard so much, and read so much. You won’t read more of the same here. We’re going deeper. This is not about re-hashing and speculation. It’s about facts, and looking forward. I have no idea whether the passing of gun laws will eliminate mass shootings. If a would-be gunman really is intent on obtaining a weapon, maybe he can. I have no idea whether we can prevent an evil person from going on a murderous rampage. I talked to someone who deals in mental health, and he has doubts whether that’s actually possible. But I do feel that the security of schools, churches, and any public...
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Captivating Final Stages of the PGA Championship

  The captivating final stages of the PGA Championship served as a reminder to us all that the game’s the thing. No matter what may be going on behind the scenes, for the players who play and the viewers who watch, nothing overshadows the competition on the field of play. Who will survive, who will make the plays, who won’t? That’s really what counts. When Justin Thomas completed a three-hole playoff victory over Will Zalatoris at Southern Hills in Tulsa, no one was thinking of what has become a rancorous battle involving the PGA Tour and the LIV Golf Invitational Series.  The finish to the second major of the season was a thriller, with a bushel-load of story lines. The main contenders entering the final round were hardly household names who had never won on this kind of stage before. Leading the way was 27-year old, Mito Pereira from Chile,...
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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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