2 Cent Tuesday: NFL Playoffs Spur Chippy Chatter

2 Cent Tuesday sports blogToday’s 2 Cent Tuesday sports blog chronicles some of the unnecessary chippy chatter surfacing from last weekend’s NFL Playoff.

Normally, trash talk in sports directly involves player to player confrontations.

However, this past weekend unveiled a new type of smack deriving from athletes and a highly respected coach. The crude comments were oddly directed at an NFL official, an NFL team beat reporter and a no holds barred diatribe foolishly aimed at an opponent.

I’m curious how the league’s front office will handle the reckless, abusive comments belched by Seattle Seahawks’ Michael Bennett and Kansas City Chiefs’ Travis Kelce.

Steelers’ Coach Mike Tomlin’s Rash Remarks

And, I’m watching closely how much Pittsburgh Steelers’ head coach Mike Tomlin’s rash remarks and profanity laced tirade will be employed as motivating fodder for the New England Patriots when the two teams meet this coming weekend in the AFC Title Game coincidentally in New England.

As a lifetime sports fan, I’ve always been intrigued by how sportscasters and sportswriters cover games and what coaches say to their players to buoy their spirits or instill them with confidence.

That’s why these three cases of what I call chippy chatter compelled me to pen this piece and offer my 2 cents today.

NFL Needs to Fine or Suspend Bennett & Kelce

Both Michael Bennett and Travis Kelce need to fined and suspended. They just didn’t vent their angst toward an undeserving reporter and referee respectively. They both did it with venom and stepped way over the line in criticizing guys who were just doing their jobs.

Bennett cursed crudely and repeatedly and, in my opinion, threatened the reporter who is tasked with asking the Seahawks questions after games.

Not unlike Bennett, Kelce demeaned and disparaged an NFL official for his holding penalty that negated the Chief’s tying two-point conversion late in the game. He boorishly went so far to say the ref shouldn’t even be allowed to work at Foot Locker where hourly employees sport black and white stripe referee shirts.

Before spewing their post game obscenities, maybe Bennett and Kelce should have both reflected on their individual performances in Sunday’s losses.

Each player could have performed better. Bennett recorded just three overall tackles and Kelce dropped a key third quarter pass that would advanced his team to the red zone, and he was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct costing his team 15 yards.

Oddly, it was Mike Tomlin’s surprising statements that piqued my attention. Not knowing there was a hot mic in the room, the successful Steelers coach revealed a side of himself few fans have seen in this supposed man of faith.

Tomlin skewered the Steelers’ next opponent the New England Patriots with an onslaught of profanity and utter contempt. Wow! Not what you would want your players saying to rev up a future opponent let alone a former Super Bowl winning coach.

Don’t think the NFL front office will adjudicate on the Tomlin situation.

However, the best punishment Tomlin can receive for his totally uncalled for braggadocio is for him and his Steelers to be humbled in Foxborough this coming weekend by the now eerily quiet Patriots.

And, that’s my 2 cents on last weekend’s NFL Playoffs chippy chatter.

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Friday Sports Funny: Clean Sheet in Soccer

soccer shut out

Today’s Friday Sports Funny features the “clean sheet” in soccer.

That’s because no other sport flaunts its language with the poetic depictions and eccentric expressions like international football.

Whether it’s a bookable offense for wayward defending, bringing one’s side level in a match or dispossessing the ball from an unexpected midfielder, soccer’s colorful language truly entertains.

A nil nil match serves as another example of the sport’s unique language.

Instead of applauding the goalies for their shut out work in goal, announcers gush over the keepers’ clean sheets.

Sure, you may need an interpreter or a glossary of terms to understand the eccentric vocabulary of soccer.

But, you’ll instinctively know that a goalie’s clean sheet is something to cheer about – if he’s defending your side’s goal.

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#TBT Sports Blog: Vince Carter & NBA “Vinsanity”

MIKE Comic 85 VinsanityToday’s #TBT sports blog transports readers back before Jeremy Lin introduced NBA fans to Linsanity.

That’s because there was a time when Vince Carter and his Vinsanity play drove them absolutely crazy.

Rookie Jeremy Lin enraptured NBA fans during the 2011 – 12 season with his surprisingly stellar play as an undrafted guard out of the Ivy League’s Harvard University.

However, the spectacular play of University of North Carolina product Vince Carter regularly drove basketball fans crazy for years.

Vince Carter & NBA Fans’ Vinsanity

At 6’6” and 220 lbs., Vince Carter initiated the Vinsanity craze with his high flying dunks, acrobatic finishes and improbable shot making while playing for the Toronto Raptors and New Jersey Nets.

Famous for his windmill dunks and fantastic finishes off of alley oop passes, Carter produced an intensely loyal fan base.

Carter’s rabid fans so adored Vinsanity’s exploits that they also dubbed him Half Man Half Amazing and Air Canada during his time with the Toronto Raptors.

He also swoops in at #22 in another sports comic book Favorite Sports Nicknames.

Vince Carter: 2000 NBA Slam Dunk Champion

The 1999 NBA Rookie of the Year and 2000 NBA Slam Dunk Champion proved to be a miss-match nightmare for opposing defenses. He was too tall and powerful for guards and too quick and skilled for small forwards.

Carter quickly emerged as one of the NBA’s brightest new stars after being selected fifth overall in the 1998 NBA Draft.

An Olympic Gold Medalist in 2000, the immensely popular Carter, along with Julius Erving and Michael Jordan, is one of only three players to ever lead the NBA All-Star Game voting three or more times.

Today, the 39 year-old Carter plays for the Memphis Grizzlies. He is one of only 37 NBA players to ever score more than 20,000 career points.

Vince Carter’s insanely athletic play during his peak NBA days not only entertained basketball fans around the world.

This eight time NBA all-star’s sensational play also memorialized his Vinsanity nickname.

And, may his incredible basketball exploits inspire the next “half man half amazing” generation of talented, high flying athletes that will soar above the NBA hardwood.

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Friday Sports Funny: Kicker Tacking on Extra Point

MRO 95 Kicker Tacking on Extra Point copy

The old football cliche “the kicker is tacking on the extra point” makes up today’s Friday Sports Funny.

Even in an era of high def Jumbotrons in 80,000 seat NFL and NCAA college football stadiums, the kicker tacking on the extra point remains a relevant sports expression.

Not long ago, guys like the one in this comic actually tacked on the extra point after touchdowns.

The simple, manual job involved just a tool belt and hammer.

Today’s sophisticated operators have traded brawn and physical labor for tech sense and fancy computer degrees as they currently keep score in stadiums and arenas.

NCAA Kickers Still Maintain High Percentages

NCAA kickers still maintain high percentages of easy chip shot extra point attempts. However, the near perfect percentages of NFL kickers in years past has stumbled a bit due to the league moving the attempt back to the 35 yard line to add a little more excitement and intrigue to the pro game.

So, whether we witness a relic of a high school scoreboard or a high tech Jumbotron, football fans still love reciting this timeless cliché after a touchdown that the kicker is tacking on the extra point.

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#TBT Sports Blog: Former NY Jets QB Broadway Joe Namath

Hall of Fame QB Joe Namath

Today’s #TBT sports blog recalls one of the NFL’s most outspoken players – former New York Jets Super Bowl III winning QB Broadway Joe Namath.

Jazz singer George Benson crooned about the neon lights shining bright on Broadway. But, New York’s neon lights were never brighter than when New York Jets QB Joe Namath stole the spotlight during the 1968- 69 NFL season.

Just a short cab drive away from New York City’s theater district, Broadway Joe Namath was the main event at Shea Stadium where the New York Jets played.

Namath Featured in FREE Sports Comic Book

Namath talked big, played bigger and lived life even larger. That’s why he steps out on the stage in the #6 spot in my FREE sports comic book New York Sports Icons.

As chronicled in an HBO Sports documentary, Broadway Joe led his underdog New York Jets team to an upset Super Bowl III victory in 1969 over the heavily favored Baltimore Colts in Miami’s famed Orange Bowl.

Sherman Puckett, Namath’s teammate with the Jets, first called Namath Broadway Joe. Puckett saw how Namath loved the New York nightlife and the attention of the New York press.

Plus, Namath was not shy. He wore an assortment of full length fur coats on the Jets sidelines during games. This all happened before the NFL set specific rules on what NFL players could wear on game days.

In both his personality and appearance, Joe Namath was no member of the New York Jets’ chorus line. He was the highly costumed star and the central figure on his talented NFL team.

Broadway Joe Namath: Toast of the Town in New York City

And, in New York City, he was the toast of the town. Broadway Joe Namath began forty years ago the path of sports celebrity that today’s modern athletes like LeBron James, Derek Jeter, Kobe Bryant, Eli Manning, Tom Brady and others have followed.

In addition to dominating sports and entertainment headlines off the field, Namath excelled on the turf too. NFL.com rated this two-time AFL MVP and five-time AFL All-Star among the top 100 football players of all time.

Though #12 last laced ’em up on the football field in 1977, Namath’s reputation still lingers, especially among New York sports fans.

Since the late 1960s, many Broadway shows have come and gone in New York City. But, the curtain has never fallen on one of sports’ most unforgettable celebrities – Broadway Joe Namath.

It should be surprise to see Broadway Joe Namath’s name at #6 on the marquee of New York Sports Icons. Click HERE to safely download the FREE book.

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2 Cent Tuesday: America’s Favorite Stadium The Rose Bowl

2 Cent Tuesday sports blog

Today’s 2 Cent Tuesday sports blog celebrates America’s favorite stadium!

It hosted last night’s incredible Rose Bowl Game between USC and Penn State.

The Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA has served as the venue for many of America’s top sports events over the past century.

Last night’s epic 52 – 49 USC victory ranks as one of the best sporting events in the heralded history of California’s iconic landmark.

However, the Rose Bowl Stadium is more than just a football stadium.

Sports Illustrated Ranked it #1

Because of the Rose Bowl’s rich and diverse history, Sports Illustrated ranked it number one in its 2007 poll of best college stadiums.

It’s no surprise that many others in sports media have attributed the enviable moniker “America’s Most Famous Stadium” to California’s Rose Bowl. Sorry, Jerry Jones and Robert Kraft!

Constructed in 1922 for only $272,198, the original horse shoe shaped stadium was designed by Myron Hunt to mirror the Yale Bowl in New Haven, CT. It officially became known as the Rose Bowl in 1923.

Now owned by the City of Pasadena, the Rose Bowl has earned its status as a National Historic Landmark.

This venerable venue has successfully transformed over the years. Its first collegiate game featured Cal defeating USC on October 8, 1922.

An evolutionary stadium, it has since played host for many of our nation’s most publicized athletic events.

Rose Bowl Stadium

The stadium’s capacity has mushroomed from its original 57,000 seats and now accommodates seats for up to 92,542 fans.

1980 Super Bowl XIV between the Pittsburgh Steelers and original Los Angeles Rams saw the stadium break a single game attendance record.

In one of the NFL’s greatest title games ever, the storied stadium swelled to 103,985 spectators.

The stadium’s greatest attendance record was set way back in 1973 when 106,869 spectators watched USC defeat Ohio State University in that year’s Rose Bowl Game.

Besides hosting five Super Bowls on its pristine natural grass surface, the Rose Bowl has served as home for the UCLA Bruins since 1982.

More than a sports stadium, the Rose Bowl welcomes visitors to one of our nation’s top outdoor flea markets during the second Sunday of every month.

The Rose Bowl’s iconic status has been solidified over the years. The 1932 and 1984 Summer Olympic Games boasted activities at this beloved stadium.

The 1994 Men’s World Cup, the Women’s World Cup in 1999, various CONCACAF Cups and other major international soccer exhibition games have all been held here.

One sports event catapults the Rose Bowl above and beyond its peers. Each year, it plays host to the “Granddaddy of Them All,” when its field opens to the final and most prestigious college football bowl of the season – The Rose Bowl Game.

Except for a brief hiatus during World War II, this is where the Rose Bowl has pitted BIG 10 and PAC 12 championships teams.

In addition, four Bowl Championship Series Title Games (2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014) kicked off in the Rose Bowl and the site figures prominently in the newly organized College Football Playoffs.

Rose Bowl Has Undergone Extensive Renovation

Over the past few years, the Rose Bowl has undergone an extensive $180 million renovation. With wider hallways, expanded tunnels, 10 new giant LED panels, 10 new electronic game clocks, 54 luxury suites, 48 luxury boxes, 1,200 club seats and a totally modernized broadcast booth, the famous stadium is poised to continue its long tradition of hosting the top sporting events in America.

Plus, with its stunning location overlooking the San Gabriel Mountains, it’s no surprise that the Rose Bowl ranks as America’s favorite stadium.

And, that’s my 2 cents.

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Friday Sports Funny: Shot Themselves in the Foot

MRO 38 Shot Themselves in FootToday’s Friday Sports Funny brings to life the obvious sports cliche: Shot Themselves in the Foot.

Words aren’t necessary to describe the pained player or the dismayed coach featured in this comic.

Whether in NFL, NCAA or even high school football games, players can fail to perform their best when making ill-advised decisions.

Rather than merely losing a game, they also suffer from knowing they were responsible for inflicting harm on their own team.

Sports minded Americans opposing our country’s constitutionally protected Second Amendment should be pleased. The comic employs a sling shot doing the shooting rather than an actual gun.

Regardless of the weapon, nobody on a football team wants to know they’re responsible for their team’s loss for being the ones who shot themselves in the foot.

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MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!
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#TBT Sports Blog: Pittsburgh Steelers’ Steel Curtain

The Steel Curtain

This immovable football wall stood stoutly as the best defensive team ever assembled in the history of the National Football League.

It blitzes into today’s #TBT sports blog.

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ Steel Curtain defense of the 1970s totally tyrannized opposing NFL offenses.

The stellar defense helped the Steelers franchise capture all four Super Bowls they appeared in during that era – IX in 1975, X in 1976, XIII in 1979 and XIV in 1980.

Football fans apply the Steel Curtain nickname to Pittsburgh’s defensive ends L.C. Greenwood and Dwight White and defensive tackles Ernie Holmes and Mean Joe Greene, who won NFL Defensive Player of the Year in both 1972 and 1974.

Steel Curtain Reference Began as a Pittsburgh Radio Station Promo

However, the Steel Curtain reference began as part of a 1971 Pittsburgh radio station promotion.

The sports station asked fans to create interest from the Steelers’ fan base and coin a clever name to capture the team’s ultra tough and stingy 11 man defense.

Out of only 17 entries, WTAE Radio chose ninth grader Gregory Kronz’s Steel Curtain entry.

Blue-collared steel mill working Pittsburgh Steelers fans immediately embraced the Steel Curtain nickname. It quickly became a source of pride not only for the team, but also for the City of Pittsburgh.

Led by four future Hall of Famers, defensive tackle Greene, defensive back Mel Blount and linebackers Jack Ham and Jack Lambert, the 1976 Steel Curtain defense is perhaps the best the NFL has ever witnessed.

The team led the league in scoring defense with a 9.86 ppg average and total defense average of 260 ypg.

Anchored by the 1976 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Jack Lambert, the Steelers recorded five shutouts. Pittsburgh kept teams out of the end zone a remarkable eight of nine games during one stretch.

Pittsburgh’s Defense Dominated the 1970’s

During the 1970s the dominant Steel Curtain finished in all top 10 defensive categories every season. As a result of the play of two of their Hall of Fame athletes, the NFL instituted new rules.

Because of their inability to block defensive lineman Joe Greene, NFL offensive linemen could now utilize their hands to block.

And, because of defensive back Mel Blount’s blanketing bump and run coverage, receivers could not be touched after they were five yards off the line of scrimmage.

Admiring fans may struggle to find the right words, like immovable or invincible, to accurately label the Steelers’ defense of the 1970s.

My suggestion is simple. Just refer to these Steel Curtain defenders as four time Super Bowl Champions.

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Friday Sports Funny: NFL Blue Collar Teams

blue collarToday’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.

It’s a reference to industrious men with jobs requiring physical brawn and a tireless work ethic and not those farmed out to distant lands like India or the Philippines.

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

Steelers, Bears & Packers: Blue Collar Teams

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.

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Enjoy this weekend’s NFL games.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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#TBT Sports Blog: NFL Immaculate Reception

Franco Harris Immaculate Reception

Today’s #TBT sports blog recalls the Immaculate Reception – arguably the greatest play in NFL history.

That’s because tomorrow, December 23, will mark 44 years since this legendary heavenly heave inexplicably became one of the most controversial plays in the annals of sports.

The Immaculate Reception is a clever twist and play on words. It’s designed around the miracle and two thousand year-old belief in the Catholic faith known as the Immaculate Conception or the birth of Christ to his virgin mother Mary.

Pittsburgh Sportscaster Myron Cope First Used the Name Immaculate Reception

Pittsburgh sportscaster Myron Cope first used the brilliant name in the media. He described a last second pass play in a 1972 NFL Playoff Game between the Oakland Raiders and Pittsburgh Steelers.

Cope called Pittsburgh Steelers’ rookie Franco Harris’ miraculous catch, or reception of a deflected pass, in the 1972 playoff game’s final possession the Immaculate Reception. He credited Steelers fan Michael Ord for creating the nickname.

With the Steelers trailing 7 – 6 with 22 seconds to go, quarterback Terry Bradshaw tossed a desperate fourth down pass toward running back John Frenchy Fuqua. Oakland safety Jack Tatum collided with Fuqua at the time of the pass’ arrival. The deflected pass found the fingertips of running back Franco Harris. The Steelers’ running back miraculously caught the ball and fought off one Raiders defender. He then scored moments later, giving Pittsburgh an unexpected, last second 13 – 7 victory.

Harris’ catch, or Immaculate Reception, allowed the Steelers to advance to the AFC Championship Game the following week against the undefeated Miami Dolphins.

To this day, the play is still passionately debated by faithful Oakland Raiders fans. They insist that Harris’ grab was illegal because Bradshaw’s pass struck Fuqua first before Tatum made contact.

NFL Rules Should Have Ruled Play Incomplete

According to NFL rules at the time, the pass would have been ruled incomplete. Oakland would have won the game if the pass did indeed touch Fuqua first. However, the refs ruled otherwise.

Even today, Pittsburgh Steelers fans talk about Franco Harris’ catch as the Immaculate Reception. They insist that divine intervention took place on the football field during that 1978 NFL Playoff Game.

Because of it, the Steelers won the game. But, the incredible win is said to be the turning point in the Pittsburgh Steelers franchise.

The Immaculate Reception helped turn a historically losing franchise into a winner and eventually into a five-time Super Bowl Champion.

That’s why this miraculous pass fittingly captures the #1 spot in my sports comic book cleverly called Spiritual Sports Favorites.

Click on the red cover above to safely download Spiritual Sports Favorites for 99 cents from Amazon. Enjoy the read.

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MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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