MIKE Sports Comic Book: Favorite Sports Comics 2nd Edition

Favorite Sports ComicsI love to laugh. Who doesn’t?

I love sports, too!

But, mix sports and laughs together, and, wham! You’ve got a home run, a slam dunk, a hat trick, a perfect 10 and a touch down celebration all in one.

As author of this series of sports comic books, I’ve combined sports stories and comics to develop a whole new genre in sports entertainment.

In my 2nd edition of Favorite Sports Comics I’ve compiled a clever collection of comics, and none have appeared in any of my previous books.

These comics were illustrated for fans who like to laugh, love worn out cliches and have a passion for sports.

The sports comics in this book, along with brief corresponding stories, cover the gamut in sports. They bring to life commonly used sports clichés and ridiculous expressions that describe teams, players, plays or games.

In this book, you’ll see the old, the trite, the over-used and the outrageous. Laugh as saber wielding pitchers duel it out on a pitcher’s mound. Watch football defenders flail helplessly back on their stiletto heels. See a bus of winners drive vanquished opponents to school.

MIKE Sports Comic: Back on their HeelsThere’s also a napping base runner, a smart fowl (not foul) and a football team that left everything – clothes included – on the field.

MIKE Sports Comic: Smart Foul Not Smart FowlEnjoy this new collection of my Top 25 Favorite Sports Comics.

If I missed presenting a comic of one of your favorite sports clichés, email it to me at mikeonsports@yahoo.com.

Don’t forget to check out my other MIKE Sports Comic Books covering NFL, MLB, NBA, FIFA and NHL favorites.

Straight talk. No static.

MIKE on sports!

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Friday Sports Funny: Gut Check Time

MIKE Sports Comic: Gut Check TimeEvery sports fan is familiar with the old adage gut check time!

This old-school sports cliche rallies athletes during that critical time in a game when visions of victory are about to vanish and a potential loss hangs precariously in the balance.

So, when coaches, fans, players and sportcasters expect every last ounce of internal strength and courage to be corralled to change the outcome of a game, they proclaim this defining moment to be… gut check time!

However, I gotta admit that every time this clarion call is conveyed during an NFL game, my gut gets grossed out!

You see, when I hear the words gut check time, instead of conjuring up visions of pending victory, my mind quickly wanders to ghastly glimpses of extra-beefy NFL offensive linemen with bulging bellies bombarding my brain and bringing a whole new meaning to this time-honored cliche.

These frightful flubbies flaunt rotund repositories resembling pepperoni pizza, greasy grub and assorted pan fried food storehouses that wobble woefully around their waists.

No wonder why these linemen are called OFFENSIVE!

So, from now on, that’s why I neither have the stomach… nor the time . . . for gut checks of any kind!

Straight talk. No static.

MIKE on sports!

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#TBT Sports Blog: Italy’s FIFA Star The Berlin Wall

FIFA Ballon d'Or winner Fabio Cannavaro

Today’s #TBT sports blog should bring a little cheer to disheartened Italian soccer fans who witnessed their beloved Azzurri get eliminated sooner than expected from last summer’s 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Italy’s exit came at the heels of 1 – 0 losses to a powerful Uruguay side and to an upstart Costa Rica team.

So, let’s throw back time nine plus years and remember a rock solid defender who thwarted all opposing strikers with sites on goal.

Nicknamed the Berlin Wall, Italy’s Fabio Cannavaro made certain that nothing got past his defensive position on the soccer pitch.

Cannavaro’s brilliant defensive play during the 2006 World Cup in Germany demonstrated to FIFA fans everywhere why adoring Italians named this fortress-like footballer the Berlin Wall.

Like the hundred mile long cement wall that once divided Germany from 1961 to 1989, nothing got past Cannavaro. From his center back position, he denied access to everything from his defensive position in front of the Italian goal.

Because of Cannavaro’s dominant defense, Italy emerged as the 2006 World Cup champion. Along with teammate Gianluigi Buffon, Cannavaro played all 690 minutes in the World Cup tournament. Incredibly, this Berlin Wall never chipped or faltered. In spite of defending many of the world’s greatest strikers, he completed the competition without receiving either a yellow or a red card.

FIFA recognized Cannavaro’s excellence on the field by awarding him the 2006 Ballon d’Or as the Top Football Player in the World. He became the oldest player to receive soccer’s highest individual honor. Also, Italy’s captain remains the only defensive player ever acknowledged by soccer’s governing body for the award.

Knee injuries eventually slowed this speedy, hard tackling defender. Cannavaro retired in 2011 after a combined 15 seasons of professional soccer in the Italian Serie A, Spain’s La Liga and in Dubai.

As the all-time leader in caps for the Italian National Team with 136 to his credit, Cannavaro represented his country in four World Cups in 1998, 2002, 2006 and 2010.

That’s why he anchors FIFA Favorites in the #10 spot.

The twelve foot tall concrete wall that divided Germany for 28 years may have dwarfed the surprisingly short 5’9” Cannavaro.

However, when sizing up Fabio Cannavaro’s impact on the soccer pitch, no one will argue that he played brilliantly.

Just like the Berlin Wall for which he was named.

MIKE on sports!

MIKE Sports Comic: Soccer Footer

2 Cent Tuesday: The Worst Mascot in Sports

The Fighting irish's Leprechaun Mascot(Satire) Today’s 2 Cent Tuesday sports blog reveals whom I believe is the undisputed worst mascot in sports.

It will ignite a furor of controversy.

Zealots across the globe will vow retribution for my purported irresponsible and incendiary words.

Irish everywhere will call for a holy war. The Pope will get involved, rosaries will be recited, candles will be lit and special Masses will be held throughout the Catholic world.

I even fear for my own personal safety.

But, somebody, somewhere, sometime had to confess the blatantly obvious, yet never spoken, unadulterated truth.

The worst mascot in all of sports is the University of Notre Dame’s wimpy little leprechaun.

(Ahhh…it’s out! And what a relief God’s proverbial lightning hasn’t yet struck me dead!)

What’s up with this miniature beanpole clad in ridiculous kelly green shorts, knee high argyles, stevedor hat and all too corny corn cob pipe?

What’s he weigh in at? Maybe 97 pounds soaking wet. If this isn’t an abomination to the Catholic faith!

This Irish pipsqueak doesn’t look like he’s fighting; rather, he looks as if he’s shaking in his shamrocks every time he takes to the field.

Exactly who’d this little tike beat out for the mascot job? Some 90 year old nun? I doubt if he could even intimidate a Telletubby.

Enough of this blasphemy! The Fighting Irish need a real mascot like a bear, wolf, tiger, shark or some carnivorous creature spewing fire and brimstone.

Otherwise, the University of Notre Dame’s little greenie weenie will always get my vote, and probably every other sports fan’s, as the worst mascot in sports.

Straight talk. No static.

MIKE on sports!

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MIKE Sports Comic Book: Favorite Single Named Athletes 2nd Edition

Favorite Single Named AthletesAmazon just released the 2nd edition of another of my sports comic books.

This updated version features my top 25 Favorite Single Named Athletes.

Here’s the book’s intro…

Throughout history, singers, politicians, philosophers and spiritual leaders impacted societies to such a degree that a single name identified their fame.

These single named icons were instantly known by a reference to their first or last name. A full name became unnecessary.

Spiritual leaders like Jesus and Mohammad never required a last name. Neither did famous philosophers like Plato and Aristotle or a pacifist like Gandhi.

Similarly, political dictators like Stalin and Hitler never needed a first name. Last names were all we needed to identify them with the atrocities they committed.

Modern day entertainers reach the pinnacle of success when only one name is necessary for fans to equate them with their talent.

For example, hardly anyone can recall their last names, but everyone knows that the beautiful Shakira can make you dance and the likeable Cedric can make you laugh.

And when it comes to Elvis, Madonna, Beyonce or Bono, all we need is one name. We can instantaneously identify these entertainers and belt out a few bars from one of their hits.

In the world of sports, it’s no different. A simple name, first or last, constitutes celebrity. A single name signals to sports fans everywhere that an athlete has arrived.

Mention his or her name and people will start to rattle off statistics, count off career highlights and recall favorite all-time performances of the lone named individual.

For example, say Serena or Marta, and talk of women’s tennis and soccer will surface.

Reference last names Tebow and Bolt, and fans will likely break out into a Tebowing stance or Lighting Bolt pose.

Sports fans know that Sweetness is not a candy bar, Magic is not a trick, Babe’s not a cute girl. They also know that Bird’s not a winged creature and Kobe is not Japanese beef.

You don’t need to audible like Peyton or get locked in a double-choke hold by Hulk to enjoy this book.

Like the previous athletes mentioned, we all know the drill. There is only one Shaq, LeBron, Kareem, Wilt, Yogi, Messi, Tiger and Pele.

Their personal stories and clever comics are found in this book Favorite Single Named Athletes . Sports fans of all ages will enjoy.

Straight talk. No static.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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Friday Sports Funny: NFL Blue Collar Teams

blue collar

The Steelers are a blue collar team.

Today’s Friday Sports Funny should furnish some levity for this coming weekend’s NFL television viewing.

Whether their uniforms are red, green, black or orange, blue collar teams can be found in every sport.

Blue collar workers are a blast from the past, a reference to those with jobs requiring physical brawn and a tireless work ethic.

Even today, when describing hard scrapple NFL teams, this sports cliché still resonates.

The Pittsburgh Steelers, Chicago Bears, and Green Bay Packers are traditionally recognized as NFL blue collar teams. They perennially field squads that embody the strong work ethic of their fans.

Plus, blue collar teams in the NFL have traditionally played smash mouth football. They regularly run the ball off tackle and boast stout, aggressive defenses.

You may never witness ESPN or the NFL Network featuring NFL players carrying aluminum lunch pales, sporting hard hats and donning blue collared shirts.

However, the slobber knocker, “three yards and a cloud of dust” mentality that these tough teams embody guarantees fans lots to root for.

Because blue collar teams will always work hard and never back down in any NFL game they play.

MIKE on sports!

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#TBT Sports Blog: 2011 Satire on Tim Tebow’s Nike Shoes

heisman trophy winner Tim TebowToday’s #TBT sports blog rewinds the clock several years to a satirical piece I penned in 2011 about Nike recalling Tim Tebow’s new cross training shoes.

Many Tebow fans may have genuinely believed the former Florida Gator’s new Nikes really don’t leave actual footprints in the sand.

Read more…

(Satire) Facing extreme pressure from both special interest groups and the United States Government, Nike plans to recall its new limited edition Tim Tebow Air Trainers.

The blue and orange Tim Tebow endorsed shoes, which sold out on nikestore.com in 5 minutes last week, sparked a firestorm of protests.

Among the disgruntled groups were:

Southern Baptists, calling for a boycott of the sneaker giant, expressed outrage at Nike for naming the new Tebow shoe Air Trainer 1.2 instead of John 3:16.

Jesse Jackson, threatening to picket Denver Broncos’ home games this season, assailed Nike for failing to offer similar shoe deals to other NFL left handed, Heisman Trophy winning back-up quarterbacks of color.

Pro Choice groups, still steaming from the QB’s Pro Life Super Bowl ad earlier this year, protested that the Tebow endorsed shoes infringe upon a woman’s constitutional right to choose. Pro Choicers plan to boycott not only Nike, but also Jockey, Bible makers and all other products associated with the evangelical NFL rookie.

The ACLU, claiming the Promise decal on the shoes’ heel is another Tebow attempt to proselytize his faith, filed suit in Federal Court against the NFL to protect every American football fan’s fundamental right to separation of church and football, I mean, state.

Finally, Homeland Security, reporting that any purchaser who actually wore the new Tebow shoes demonstrated an ability to walk on water while leaving no discernible footprints in the sand. That shocking news forced Homeland to raise its Threat Level to Red. The Department feared that terrorists would go undetected if they wore the new Tim Tebow shoes.

However, NCAA and NFL players quickly challenged Homeland Security’s charge by offering, “The new Tebow shoes may not leave footprints in the sand, but when the bruising 235 lb. QB runs over you on the goal line, they definitely leave cleat marks on your forehead.”

MIKE on sports!

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2 Cent Tuesday: Iconic Sayings in Sports

ESPN Announcer Chris BermanToday’s 2 Cent Tuesday sports blog stokes the embers of sports fans’ favorite sayings. They’re expressions that we’ve all used at some point while describing a game or in a simple conversation.

Julius Caesar’s “Vedi Vidi Vici” (Latin for I came, I saw, I conquered), Jesus’ Golden Rule “Love your neighbor as yourself,” and the poet Horace’s adage “Carpe Diem” (seize the day) are as nearly well known today as they were in centuries past.

In the world of sports, expressions, clichés and iconic sayings have also been memorialized.

Sports fans learn these iconic sayings at an early age and repeat them regularly throughout their lives. They apply them not only to sports games they watch, but even to the everyday problems they face.

In this case, these iconic sports sayings fit nicely into today’s blog.

Here ya go…

Whenever we don the name of a certain company’s athletic apparel, we’re reminded to “Just do it!” as Nike’s marketing campaign suggests, whether on the playing field or strategizing in the boardroom.

We enthusiastically shout “Goooooooooooal!” whenever we witness a score during a soccer match and mimic Univision sportscaster Andres Castor’s immediately recognizable expression.

Thanks to Marv Albert, NBA announcer on TNT, we recite, “Yes!” whenever we passionately affirm something.

Marv Albert We recall Jim Valvano’s famous ESPY Awards words, “Never give up!” and apply them to every difficult situation we encounter in life.

When we’re getting ready for a game, a sales call, a test or a challenge of any kind, we’ve probably uttered the war cry, “Let’s get ready to rumble!” All thanks to Michael Butler, WWE Ring Announcer.

Who hasn’t watched an NFL kickoff return for a touchdown and shouted, “He… could… go… all… the… way,” obviously in tribute to ESPN’s Chris Berman.

“Back, back, back, back, back!” is another Chris Berman favorite quote. We’ve all repeated it in the ESPN sportscaster’s signature, staccato style with emphasis on the letter “b”.

“Havlicek stole the ball. Havlicek stole the ball!” We love uttering this NBA classic originated by the lips of legendary Boston Celtics announcer Johnny Most.

“Cubs win! Cubs win!” Harry Carey said it. Too bad it wasn’t after a World Series. Sorry Cubbies fans!

“There’s no substitute for guts.” Legendary Alabama Crimson Tide football coach Bear Bryant gifted all sports fans with this universal quote.

“Do you believe in miracles?” NBC sportscaster Al Michaels uttered these timeless words during the 1980 Winter Olympics semi-final hockey game following what is considered the greatest upset in team sports. Decades later, we still believe in miracles in all sports.

1980 Winter Olympic USA Hockey victory“To be the man, you need to beat the man.” Pro wrestler Ric Flair’s famous simple words couldn’t be any truer for aspiring champions in any sport.

“No mas.” Retired boxer Roberto Duran spoke these simple words that others should speak sooner whenever they’re overwhelmed in an adverse situation.

Former World Champion Roberto Duran

“Gentlemen, start your engines.” Tony Hulman, the late owner of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Vroom vroom! This saying could apply to just about anything in life.

Yes, these timeless sports quotes will continue to endure because they relate to us – whether we’re watching a game or facing a life challenge.

And, in the timeless words of legendary sportscaster Marv Albert, we can all say “yes” to that!

MIKE on sports!

MIKE Sports Comic: Boxing Footer

MIKE Sports Comic Book: Favorite Sports Nicknames 2nd Edition

Favorite Sports Nicknames

It’s back!

My popular sports comic book – Favorite Sports Nicknames – is now available in its updated, second printing on Amazon.

Click on the yellow cover above to safely download the book from Amazon.

Here’s the book’s intro…

I’m absolutely crazy about clever nicknames!

Who isn’t?

I grew up with Tiny – ironically the biggest kid in class.

I played sports with Frankie “K” – short for his Polish last name Konstantynowicz – which no one could pronounce or spell. I sought help on my math home work from Digits – who obviously was great with numbers.

I could never muster the courage to kiss Cali, short for Caliente, the hottest girl in school.

And, I refused to allow Booger, for obvious reasons, to ever touch me.

Clever, unique nicknames say so much about people. They capture the essence of a person, a moment, a movement or even a city.

Nicknames can make no sense at all, except when placed in context.

For example, no one ever really saw the former Soviet Union’s feared Iron Curtain and no one I know actually heard the sound of the original Big Bang. But, we all understand what the names mean.

Reference places like Little Havana, The Big Easy or The Windy City and our mental GPS coordinates are set.

Mention the Brits, Aussies and Yanks, and different English accents come to mind.

Here in the United States, Americans reference former presidents by numbers like 42 and 44 or by initials like F.D.R., J.F.K. and L.B.J.

And, if Presidents misbehave, they’re assigned cheeky monikers like Tricky Dicky and Slick Willie, and everyone knows who and what we’re talking about.

In the world of entertainment, pop icons like Madonna and Gaga will more than likely get your groove on.

Other curious cultural luminaries like Snooki and Snoop might quickly turn it right off.

Nicknames are especially defining in sports, and there’s no shortage of them here in this book on my top 25 Favorite Sports Nicknames.

I spotlight the storied careers of a Helicopter and a Thorpedo and cater to food fans with references to chocolate, spices and cheese.

I entertain with recollections about basketball’s Human Highlight Reel and baseball’s Wizard of Oz.

In addition, I delve into size differences and contrast a Big Unit with a Pocket Hercules.

I appeal to those “spiritual” sports fans among you by recalling the prowess of the Minister of Defense.

And, I write about our favorite appliances like a refrigerator, a vacuum cleaner and a microwave.

Plus, I cover some not-so-well-behaved basketball players as well as hockey’s undisputed Great One. His unfathomable resume on the ice trumps all other great ones in all other sports.

Remember, these are my top 25 Favorite Sports Nicknames.

Enjoy them.

Yes, this is my list with my opinions and my personal picks.

The players may have retired long ago, and some may have even passed away. However, their legacies have lived on, even flourished, because of their clever and unique nicknames.

MIKE on sports!

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Notre Dame Fighting Irish’s Touchdown Jesus

The University of Notre Dame's Touchdown JesusAlong with the beautiful 218 foot tall bell tower of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart and the gleaming 187 foot tall gold dome of the school’s administration building, the 210 foot tall Hesburgh Library forms the skyline of America’s most recognized Catholic university.

A gorgeous mosaic named the Word of Life adorns the south side of the entire Hesburgh Library. The work of art towers over the north end zone scoreboard of the University of Notre Dame’s 80,795 seat football stadium in South Bend, Indiana.

This famous mosaic showcases Christ the Teacher. He’s reaching out to others, and with his raised arms, appears to mimic a football official signaling a touch down. It’s obvious to onlookers that he’s presiding over the action from on high.

Known universally throughout the college football world as Touchdown Jesus, this Word of Life mosaic doesn’t need a Hail Mary Pass or an Immaculate Reception to ascend into the #8 spot in my book Spiritual Sports Favorites.

Though unintentional, Touchdown Jesus quickly found its way into football lore when fans of all religious beliefs recognized Jesus’ innocent, but obvious, pose on this monstrous mural.

The spectacular mural was formally unveiled on May 7, 1964 during the dedication of the school’s Hesburgh Library.

The clever and creative work of art is usually referenced whenever Notre Dame plays a football game at home.

Announcers have both joked, or intimated, that the Fighting Irish’s rich football tradition (comprising 11 national championships and 7 Heisman Trophy winners) has partaken in a heavenly edge as a result of a protective Touchdown Jesus hovering over its campus stadium.

A generous gift of $200,000 by Mr. and Mrs. Howard Philan in 1964 made the construction of the massive mural possible. Designed by artist Millard Sheets, the 134 foot tall and 68 foot wide image of Touchdown Jesus is comprised of 6,700 individual pieces of granite in 140 different colors. Granite from 11 states and 16 countries was carefully chosen to survive the harsh Indiana winters. Then, it was expertly crafted into 324 separate panels upon the side of the library.

University of Notre Dame President Emeritus Theodore Hesburgh, for whom the library was named, commented on the school’s web site that the theme of the cubist style mosaic incorporates saints and scholars through out the ages: The mosaic depicts the university’s religious beliefs with a chronological history of scenes from the Old Testament, Byzantine, Medieval and Renaissance eras.

The focal point of the beautiful adornment is the welcoming, confident face of Jesus which alone stands nine feet tall and is made up of 115 individual granite pieces. Hesburgh acknowledged that the initial intent of glorifying God through the construction of the mural has morphed into one of the most recognized icons in all of college football.

Legendary Notre Dame Coaches Knute Rockne, Frank Leahy, Ara Parseghian, Dan Devine and Lou Holtz could never have envisioned the popularity of the mural nor comprehended the influence Touchdown Jesus has wielded over the years.

With the mosaic’s imposing image of the Son of God’s raised arms peering confidently from the library into the stadium, no instant replay or further review should ever be necessary whenever Notre Dame scores a touchdown. The ruling on the field will always stand because apparently Touchdown Jesus has already made the call.

MIKE on sports!

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Friday Sports Funny: XOXO is a Football Play!

MRO 82 XOXO is a playToday’s Friday Sports Funny reveals that XOXO is actually a football.

However, the comic’s doltish, red faced football player appears confused and who doesn’t realize XOXO has another meaning than the an abbreviation for hugs and kisses.

NFL and NCAA offensive coordinators routinely design intricate plays with lots of X’s and O’s to catch their opponents off guard.

When viewed on the chalkboard, sophisticated plays might look more like advanced math equations than routine football plays.

Not all of today’s NCAA and NFL players aced the Wonderlic test or scored perfectly on their SAT’s. Some players with more brawn than brain may struggle in understanding the complexity of these diagrammed plays.

But, this exaggerated XOXO comic can give every football fan a hearty laugh.

XOXO is a Football Play!

Any gridiron player should know football is a game of X’s and O’s and that hugs and kisses are the last thing to expect on the playing field.

MIKE on sports!

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#TBT Sports Blog: Boxing’s Raging Bull Jake La Motta

Raging Bull Jake LaMottaMost fighters would think twice before squaring off against an angry bull of a guy.

But, for opponents in the ring facing the focus of today’s #TBT sports blog, no better nickname expressed the fear and intimidation he wielded as boxing’s Raging Bull.

The always snarling Jake La Motta charged opponents like a bull exploding out of a pen to attack a matador.

This Raging Bull’s bullish boxing style, along with incredible stamina to survive severe beatings in the ring, contributed to his boxing success.

A member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame, La Motta reached the pinnacle of his profession when he knocked out Frenchman Marcel Cerdan in 1949. He captured the World Middleweight Title, a championship that he successfully defended twice.

Named by Ring Magazine as one of the top ten middleweight fighters ever, La Motta retired in 1954 with a career record of 83 wins (30 by knockout), 19 losses and 4 draws.

La Motta’s most notable fights pitted him six times against Sugar Ray Robinson, one of boxing’s all time greats. Their February 14, 1952 bout became known as the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. The bloodied Raging Bull ferociously fought the superior Robinson for 13 rounds before the fight was mercifully stopped and awarded to Sugar Ray.

This fighter’s life outside the boxing ring is as controversial as his accomplishments inside the ropes.

Chronicled in his autobiography Raging Bull:My Story, La Motta’s father forced him into fighting at an early age in order to entertain neighbors for money and subsidize the family’s income.

Complex and troubled, La Motta also threw plenty of punches outside the ring. He once confessed to beating up a bookie and left him for dead. He also admitted to hitting his first wife Vikki so hard that he thought he had killed her.

In addition, the menacing Raging Bull admitted to throwing a November 14, 1947 fight against Billy Fox. He supposedly wanted to endear himself to the Mafia.

Accomplished Hollywood Director Martin Scorsese eventually adapted La Motta’s autobiography. The critically acclaimed movie, in which Robert De Niro played the real Raging Bull, won an Academy Award.

In my sports comic book on Favorite Boxers, I feature La Motta in chapter 10.

Favorite BoxersThough I cringe when learning about La Motta’s bad behavior, violent temper and poor decisions in life, I also admire his indomitable spirit to overcome a horrific childhood and excel as a professional boxer.

In his post boxing days, Jake La Motta married seven times. He also pursued other surprising entertainment endeavors like stand-up comedy and ownership of a baseball team.

Since hanging up his gloves five decades ago, La Motta has relentlessly attacked every new venture as if it where one of his former opponents in the ring.

However, anyone who comes close to this colorful, complicated character knows to be as cautious around him as a matador.

And, that’s no bull.

MIKE on sports!

MIKE Sports Comic: Boxing Footer

2 Cent Tuesday: Dallas Cowboys’ Greg Hardy Has Got To Go

2 Cent Tuesday sports blogDallas Cowboys’ DE Greg Hardy has got to go. Now!

Since Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones lacks the courage to pink slip the talented defender, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell must step in to banish Hardy immediately.

Jones’ and Goodell’s silence and lack of action concerning Hardy’s outrageous behavior have disturbed me in light of this high profile domestic abuse case.

However, their inaction doesn’t exasperate me as much as the obvious photographic and testimonial evidence of Hardy’s violent 2014 attack on his former girl friend Nicole Holder.

Originally convicted in a bench trial in North Carolina, Hardy subsequently appealed for a jury trial. Charges were dropped and later expunged from the football player’s record when girl friend Holder refused to testify against him in the case. The battered woman agreed to a financial settlement with Hardy and has since remained mute.

Though the NFL originally gave Hardy a 10 game suspension for his abusive behavior, the suspension was later reduced to only 4 games.

The storm of public discontent swirling around Hardy’s case reached Category 5 status last week. Deadspin released photos and court transcripts of the Hardy legal proceedings that instantly sparked outrage – and rightfully so.

Last week, disturbing photos of Hardy’s girl friend’s welts and bruises surfaced. In addition, gripping testimony that revealed Nicole Holder pleading desperately to Hardy as he choked, “Just kill me,” was made public.

Though Dallas Cowboys’ management and owner Jerry Jones knew of these Deadspin docs, they did nothing about it. Instead, they supported Hardy and allowed him to play after his suspension was up.

During an era when the NFL’s reputation has been sullied by off-field legal issues, many of which involve domestic abuse, the Hardy case serves as a poignant bellwether.

However, neither Goodell nor Jones has rung the bell – yet – in this outrageous Hardy imbroglio. Their silence, inactivity and, most importantly, lack of true leadership ring hollow not just to football fans. It strikes to the core of anyone even remotely familiar with Hardy’s egregious actions.

Commissioner Goodell needs to follow the lead of a hunger-striking grad student and an NCAA Division 1 football team in Missouri. With their bold actions, they elicited dramatic change at their university.

It’s time for Goodell to courageously step up and exercise his power as the head of the largest professional sports league in America. He needs to navigate through all the necessary legal maneuverings necessary quickly and banish Hardy in order to send a clear signal for the future integrity and standards of the NFL.

Make Hardy the prime example that domestic abuse will not be tolerated and that a price will be paid for those who engage in such deplorable behavior.

NFL fans – and especially women everywhere – anxiously await the Commissioner’s next move.

Yes, Greg Hardy has got to go. Now!

And, that’s my 2 cents!

MIKE on sports!

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Friday Sports Funny: Play Took Crowd Out of Game

MRO 35 Play Took Crowd OutToday’s Friday Sports Funny – the play took crowd out of game – features a chapter excerpt from my FREE book Clever Sports Comics.

The comic proves that actions speak louder than words whether on an NFL, NCAA or high school football field.

As depicted in the comic above, a fantastic play on the football field not only silenced the crowd in the stands, but ironically removed them entirely from the football stadium.

All that remains is a fallen “Home of the Bears” banner draped across the empty seats once filled by Bears fans.

It appears as if the Tigers’ #6 tackle not only took the Bears’ ball carrier out of the play, but his remarkable tackle (he wasn’t even seen in the previous image) helped remove the Bears fans from the stadium, too.

Incredible plays like this are exciting to watch because they can swing momentum in a game, stop an opponents touchdown drive or score swiftly and unexpectedly

Sure, this may only be a comic. But, the two panel image also teaches a great lesson for sports fans and athletes of any age.

Silence Your Critics and Take Crowd Out of Game

Namely, if you want to silence the critics in your crowd, make sure you allow your positive actions do all the talking.

You might even make it on ESPN Sports Center.

MIKE Vol 7 CleverClick on purple cover above to safely download my FREE sports comic book simply titled FREE Clever Sports Comics to read about more inventive sports comics and cliches like the “play took the crowd out of the game.”

And, check back again same time next week for another Friday Sports Funny.

MIKE on sports!

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#TBT Sports Blog: NHL Great Mario Lemieux

NHL great Mario LemieuxNHL great Super Mario Lemieux is my choice for today’s #TBT sports blog. The back story behind his Super Mario nickname, coupled with his personal overcoming story, make for a compelling read.

Here’s an excerpt on Lemieux from my book Favorite Overcoming Athletes. . .

The likeable hero of the top selling video game series of all time was introduced during the rookie season of one of the most admired National Hockey League’s players ever.

Beginning in 1985, Nintendo’s Super Mario Brothers reigned over video game sales. That same year, Super Mario Lemieux of the Pittsburgh Penguins began dominating NHL games with his speed, strength and superb hockey skill.

Boston Bruins great Bobby Orr once remarked that Mario Lemieux, nicknamed Super Mario, was the most talented hockey player he had ever seen.

Lemieux’s excellence on the ice allowed him to lead the NHL in scoring six times. Big #66 also won the Hart Trophy three times as the league’s Most Valuable Player.

A 1997 inductee to the Hockey Hall of Fame, LeMieux finished his hockey career with 690 goals and 1,033 assists. He was the only player ever to score five goals in different ways in a single game. These goals included an empty net, power play, penalty shot, shorthanded and full strength.

The 6’4″ and 235 lb. French Canadian’s career highlights include an Olympic Gold Medal in 2002, a World Cup of Hockey Championship in 2004 and two NHL Stanley Cup Championships in 1991 and 1992.

Lemieux also won a third Stanley Cup title in 2009 as Chairman of the Board of the same NHL team he played for, the Pittsburgh Penguins, whom he rescued out of bankruptcy.

Lemieux Overcame Both Injuries and Illness

The former Penguin battled injuries and illness that sidelined him for several seasons. Lemieux overcame back problems and a bout with Hodgkins disease to return to the ice after he had already retired. He proved that hockey’s Super Mario trumps any video game heroics and is much more than just a hockey hero.

Video game icon Super Mario may have shown off his heroics by successfully saving Princess Toadstool from her nemesis Bowser during their valiant Nintendo struggles.

However, ice hockey hero Super Mario Lemieux repeatedly showed bravery, courage and an amazing personal drive.

MIKE on sports!

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2 Cent Tuesday: Time For NBA Icon Kobe Bryant to Step Away

2 Cent Tuesday sports blogFollowing a lackluster start to the 2015 – 16 season, NBA icon Kobe Bryant and his future serve as fodder for today’s 2 Cent Tuesday sports blog.

My post asks how much longer the soon-to-be 38 year-old certain Hall of Fame basketball icon will continue to play in the NBA.

Plus, it begs Bryant to realize that it’s now time to step away from the game while fans can remember the greatness he once so effortlessly exhibited on the basketball court.

He’s struggling badly and it’s evident that he is no longer an elite NBA player.

Sure, Kobe Bryant has won five rings with the Los Angeles Lakers and has been named NBA All-Star 17 times in a stellar 20-year career.

However, Bryant’s chronic injuries and rapidly encroaching age limitations have taken their toll on the incredible basketball star’s athleticism.

And, they’ve stolen from Bryant a once unrivaled ability to score whenever, wherever and on whomever he pleased.

Unfortunately, not even Bryant’s indomitable will be able to help him overcome the eye-opening decline NBA fans are witnessing in his play.

After returning from injuries that have seen him miss 123 games in the past two years, a noticeably less athletic Bryant has struggled in his first three games this season. It’s evident to fans, teammates and opposing players that Bryant is no longer an elite player and his un-Kobe like stats prove it.

Following a horrible 3 for 15 shooting performance in the Lakers loss to the Dallas Mavericks, Bryant exclaimed, “I freaking suck!” Sadly, no one could argue with the star guard’s brutally honest self-appraisal.

Kobe’s not just the “elephant in the room.” Rather, he’ll be the “elephant in every NBA arena” where he’ll play this year. It’ll be as painful to watch as an overweight Michael Jordan in a Wizards’ uniform or a feeble Brett Favre donning a Jets helmet. Please spare us, Kobe!

In three games, Bryant has shot an anemic 31.4% from the field and an even more woeful 20.7% from behind the arc where he’s averaging 10+ three point attempts per contest.

A much more telling statistic is that the lifetime Laker has attempted 51 shots this season, while only passing the ball 56 times. Yikes!

So, Kobe, when will you call it quits? There’s no shame in doing it now!

Kobe Bryant Now Facing Biggest Challenge

Bryant is now facing the biggest challenge of his career as he goes toe-to-toe with an opponent who’s never lost against an athlete in any sport. Kobe’s adversary is every athlete’s eventual nemesis. He’s the ol’ man himself, undefeated Father Time.

Though many athletes, including Hall of Famers like Kobe Bryant, will rise to challenge him, no one has ever emerged victoriously.

Here’s hoping Kobe doesn’t insist on trudging on in a sport that he once so easily dominated.

Here’s believing Kobe won’t allow tomfoolery to convince him to continue.

Here’s expecting Kobe will realize he can’t prevail against undefeated and universally unchallenged Father Time.

Kobe Should Follow a Legendary Lakers’ Footsteps

Kobe should follow a legendary Lakers’ footsteps and step away from the game now as the great Elgin Baylor once did.

Yes, Kobe must allow fans to remember him as the mega-star he once was instead of the burnished star that can no longer elevate off the hardwood to rise above a heavy legged defender.

Fans won’t disrespect you, Kobe. But, they’ll actually applaud you for recognizing now is the time to step away instead of languishing this season and sullying the glorious rep you had once so deservedly earned.

And, that’s my 2 cents!

MIKE on sports!

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Remembering MLB’s Mr. November Derek Jeter

MIKE Comic 48 Mr. NovemberThis athlete tops the charts as one of Major League Baseball’s most admired and respected players ever.

In addition to Derek Jeter’s Captain Clutch nickname, this New York Yankee also came to be known as Mr. November.

Jeter got the name through unique circumstances surrounding the postponement of the 2001 World Series.

He not only earned his own separate month on the calendar in Major League Baseball lore, but he also will be remembered as one of the greatest players and most trustworthy athletes of his generation.

It’s only fitting that we honor him on this first day of the month.

Due to the shocking September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City, the Fall Classic between the New York Yankees and the Arizona Diamondbacks was delayed. Games were pushed back until late October. The Yankees won Game 4 of the series when Derek Jeter hit a walk-off home run in the 10th inning. This extra-inning game took place for the first time during the month of November. The Yankee Stadium scoreboard recognized Jeter’s historic moment and immediately called him Mr. November.

Historically, Jeter excelled in the post-season where he won five World Series championships and batted an impressive .351. The Yankee shortstop also played in a total of 152 post-season games. During that time, he made 679 plate appearances and collected 191 hits. No wonder why Derek Jeter was known for being clutch.

In addition to his remarkable post-season statistics, Jeter served as a terrific role model during his 20 years with the New York Yankees. The Yankee great is expected to be a first ballot Hall of Fame inductee.

This 1996 American League Rookie of the Year and 2000 World Series Most Valuable Player made 14 All-Star appearances. Mr. November’s also collected five Silver Slugger Awards and won five Gold Gloves.

Legendary baseball coach Don Zimmer appropriately called Jeter “the all-time Yankee.” Upon retiring last year, Jeter ranked as the all-time New York Yankees leader in hits, games played, stolen bases and at bats.

Over and above his baseball exploits, Derek Jeter’s leadership and ever present smile made him one of the most successful product spokesmen in sports.

Global brands like Nike, Gillette, Ford, VISA and Gatorade paid Mr. November handsomely to endorse their products – no matter what month of the year.

MIKE on sports!

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Happy Halloween: FREE Scary Sports Comic Book

The Executioner Bernard HopkinsHappy Halloween!

To celebrate this annual holiday, I’m giving away Scary Sports Comics  – a FREE sports comic book.

It’s a collection of my favorite figuratively frightening sports comics.

The book isn’t intended to scare sports fans. But, each comic is meant to entertain sports fans of all ages.

The FREE book both highlights and lampoons the eerie expressions, creepy nicknames, ghostly references, frightening athletes, intimidating teams and unnerving clichés that comprise our unintentionally scary sports vocabulary.

This book cleverly chronicles individual stories of an elusive Galloping Ghost, a giant Green Monster and a terrifying boxer named The Executioner.

In addition, it disrupts the sleep of some readers with a story about the Nigerian Nightmare. It startles others with references to a champion boxer with Hands of Stone.

former Kansas City Chiefs RB Nigerian Nightmare Christian OkoyeThis book covers the awe-inspiring fury of The Lightning Bolt as he explodes out of the starting blocks. It focuses on the frightening force of a little known, but huge NCAA running back named Earthquake who once rambled through the line of scrimmage carrying a football.

In some of the chapters you may face your greatest fears. You’ll come face-to-face with a snarling Pit Bull, a venomous Black Mamba and an angry Raging Bull.

After squaring off on the soccer field with Scarface and pitching to Murderers’ Row, you may even think an encounter with the bruising Broad Street Bullies proves a mild consolation.

So, hurry up and check out Scary Sports Comics.

MIKE FREE Scary Sports Comic BooksDo it before you get mugged, punched, elbowed or trapped in Coffin Corner or Sudden Death Overtime.

If you don’t, The Embalmer and The Undertaker may come looking for you sooner than you think.

Former NHL player Alf PikeEnjoy this comic book. It’s not really that frightening.

It’s just funny and, better yet, it’s FREE!

Straight talk. No static.

MIKE on sports!

MIKE Sports Comic: Boxing Footer

Friday Sports Funny: NFL Coffin Corner on Halloween Eve

coffin cornerToday’s Friday Sports Funny is a perfect NFL comic for Halloween Eve.

Wedged between the end zone pylon and the 5 yard line of any football field sits a small area of turf.

It’s cleverly called Coffin Corner.

Along with sudden death overtimes, suicide squeeze plays, killer curve balls, deadly three point shooters and linemen who bury quarterbacks, this phrase further supports my claim: The lethal language of sports is riddled with references to death.

Coffin Corner featured in Sports Comic Book

Buried in the #9 spot of my sports comic Deadly Sports Stuff, Coffin Corner comes into play whenever a punter attempts to kick the football out of bounds between the 5 yard line and the end zone.

Deadly Sports StuffThis risky directional kick can result in very bad field position for the receiving team. A successful Coffin Corner punt can dramatically limit the opposition’s field position by pinning their offense just outside its own end zone.

NFL Punters Are Overlooked

Oft overlooked, precise punters have proven to be valuable special team players for their squads.

Former NFL punters Sean Landeta and Jeff Feagles lasted 19 and 22 years, respectively, in the league because of incredible hang times on their punts and their skill to place punts in Coffin Corner. Feagles retired as the NFL’s greatest punter ever with 71,211 total yards.

In 2014, former Oakland Raiders Ray Guy will become the first punter ever to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Guy’s selection proves how valuable a great punter can be on a football team.

An opposing team starting a drive inside their own 5 yard line may never witness actual caskets at their end of the field.

However, a team’s bad field position may prove the kiss of death at a crucial time in the game when they desperately need good field position in order to start a drive.

That’s when football’s Coffin Corner can be one of the deadliest places in a crucial NFL game.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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#TBT Sports Blog: William The Refrigerator Perry

The FridgeToday’s #TBT sports blog recalls mammoth former Chicago Bears DT William The Refrigerator Perry by sharing this exerpt from my sports comic book – Favorite Big Things in Sports. Here ya go…..

“Even when I was little, I was big.”

These words were spoken by the likeable, extra-large William The Refrigerator Perry. He is one of the most beloved big men to ever wear an NFL football jersey.

No one really knows who gave Perry his Refrigerator nickname.

But, it’s not hard to guess how he got it.

Teammates would tell stories about Perry’s ability to eat huge amounts of food. Everyone thought his big, square shaped body looked like a refrigerator.

The Refrigerator, or Fridge for short, became an instant NFL fan favorite. The Chicago Bears drafted him as a defensive lineman out of Clemson with the 22nd pick of the first round of the NFL Draft.

However, Perry became famous when Bears coach Mike Ditka unexpectedly used him as a fullback on short yardage and goal line situations.

At 6’2” and 375 lbs. the extra-sized Perry was not only a pile-driving blocker out of the backfield. He was surprisingly nimble for a man of his size. The Refrigerator was certainly no gimmick. He scored five touchdowns for the Bears out of the backfield.

Perry played for ten seasons in the NFL. He did not develop into the dominant defensive force the Bears hoped he would become. Perry’s career spanned 138 games in which he totaled 29.5 sacks.

The Refrigerator’s NFL career highlight occurred in 1986 when the Chicago Bears dismantled the New England Patriots 46 – 10 to capture Super Bowl XX.

As a bit of NFL trivia, Perry’s Super Bowl ring had to be specially made. Fashioned to fit his extra large ring size of 25, Perry’s became the largest Super Bowl ring ever.

After Retiring The Refrigerator Entertained Off the Field

After retirement, the entertaining Perry continued to live large in the eyes of sports fans. The Refrigerator went on to perform in Worldwide Wrestling Federation and professional boxing celebrity matches.

The Refrigerator also promoted his own barbeque sauce. He recorded his own rap songs and served as a substitute for a Lingerie Football League game. Perry even entered Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Championships.

Whatever the likeable former Chicago Bears DT William The Refrigerator Perry did on or off the football field, he always did it with a smile.

Perry also did everything in a very big way – just like the heavy duty kitchen appliance he was named after – The Refrigerator.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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