Olympic Swimmer Michael Phelps Busted Again for DUI

Michael Phelps

Olympic Swimming Champion Michael Phelps

The 22 Olympic medals hanging heavily around Michael Phelps’ neck may not sink him.

However, the all-time Olympic medal winner’s reckless personal behavior outside the pool may ultimately dunk him with his sponsors.

Early yesterday morning, Maryland police clocked Phelps’ 2014 Range Rover doing 84 mph in a 45 mph zone.

An inebriated Phelps failed the requisite field sobriety test and was immediately booked with alcohol levels at nearly twice the legal limit. Charges filed against the Baltimore Bullet included DUI, speeding and crossing a double line lane.

This is not the first time Phelps’ irresponsible behavior has captured headlines.

As a 19 year-old, Phelps was cited for his first DUI. And, as a 23 year-old, photos surfaced of Phelps sucking on a bong at a University of South Carolina campus party.

The pot incident cost Phelps a lucrative sponsorship deal with Kellogg’s which immediately distanced himself from the swimmer.

Phelps’ most recent bust couldn’t have come at a worst time for a guy looking to get back in the pool and in the center of the media spotlight.

Plus, the historically rich NFL sponsorship deals are now being more closely scrutinized than ever in light of the league’s recent domestic abuse and inappropriate conduct scandals. The same level of scrutiny is being applied to other athletes in other sports.

Sponsoring companies desire model citizens to tout their products and not immature athletes who should know better and whose behavior cannot be monitored 24 / 7.

Curious to see how Phelps’ current stable of sponsors – Under Armor, VIA and Subway – weigh in on the swimmer’s most recent mistake.

Let’s hope the 18-time Olympic gold medalist gets his personal life in order and can always keep his head above water.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

MIKE Sports Comic: Olympics Footer

NFL Becomes No Prayer League for a Night

MIKE Small Circular Badge

The embattled National Football League unwittingly captured headlines again last night.

A year after the “League of Denial” survived its unsavory concussion conundrum, the NFL unexpectedly found itself facing another fiasco.

Unfortunately, its botched handling of several domestic abuse cases involving its players dominated media news last week.

However, the NFL’s problems didn’t stop there.

During last night’s ESPN Monday Night Football telecast, the “No Fun League” added to its ever eroding reputation by fumbling again in the national spotlight. In doing so, the NFL picked up its newest moniker as the “No Prayer League.”

Incredulously, a hankie happy official in the third quarter of ESPN’s game between the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs unnecessarily threw a yellow penalty flag for a touchdown celebration.

When Kansas City safety Husain Abdullah, a devout Muslim, returned a Tom Brady pass for a score, he was immediately penalized 15 yards for momentarily bowing prostrate in deference to Allah in the end zone.

The uncalled for flag immediately blew up Twitter and Facebook, and the NFL took another pummeling. And, rightfully so!

Touchdown celebrations have always been an NFL tradition as well as a fan favorite breeding ground for creative types to exercise their craft while basking in a score.

From the Ickey Woods Shuffle to the Deion Sanders High Step Strut and from Terrell Owens signing a football with a Sharpie hidden in a goal post to a thunderous Jimmy Graham dunk, football fans expect to witness a scoring player gyrate or gesticulate after suddenly finding pay dirt.

However, the “no fun police” displayed their best party-pooping selves again last night by penalizing a guy praising his God for a surprise victory moment.

The NFL recognized the over zealous ref’s Scrooge-like mistake this morning and released this statement.

“Husain Abdullah should not have been penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct following his fourth quarter touchdown,” NFL spokesman Michael Signora wrote in an email to USA TODAY Sports.

“Rule 12, Section 3, Article 1 (d) states ‘players are prohibited from engaging in any celebrations or demonstrations while on the ground.’ However, the officiating mechanic in this situation is not to flag a player who goes to the ground as part of religious expression, and as a result, there should have been no penalty on the play.”
Happy to see the NFL take responsibility by addressing last night’s ridiculous penalty.

How ironic for players who regularly thank their maker each week for surviving another brutal game nearly found the league eradicating celebratory prayer from the sport last night.

What a joke! What a tragedy! What a continuing comedy of errors for a buttoned up Park Avenue based multi-billion dollar sports league.

However, what’s even funnier is that a former Heisman Trophy winning, but now unemployed NFL quarterback is probably laughing loudly while shaking his head and Tebowing thankfully from his new Good Morning America studio set.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!
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A Fitting Sendoff for New York Yankees Derek Jeter

Mr. November

New York Yankees’ Derek Jeter

Yesterday proved to be a most fitting sendoff for New York Yankees Derek Jeter.

And, I’m not referring to Jeter’s third inning RBI infield single during his last Major League Baseball plate appearance.

My final memory of Derek Jeter in a baseball uniform will be the beautifully odd way a bitter adversary and its fan base sent off one of its hated divisional rivals’ legendary players.

The now officially retired 40 year-old played his last in pinstripes before a normally raucous and adversarial crowd at Fenway Park.

However, the usually expected hostile Red Sox nation showed the Yankees shortstop the same deserving RE2PECT recently acknowledged in an epic Nike ad as well as demonstrated at Yankee Stadium less than a week ago.

Boston’s genuine tipping of the hat to Jeter not only warmed the hearts of every baseball fan on the planet. It also revealed the heart, class and respect of Red Sox nation, the Yankees’ avowed antagonist that Jeter battled during his entire MLB career.

In a pre-game ceremony, Beantown sports legends Carl Yastzremski, Paul Pierce and Bobby Orr publicly declared their admiration for perhaps Major League Baseball’s most beloved player.

Red Sox management took the Jeter adulation a step higher by donating $22,222,22 to the certain Hall of Famer’s Turn Two Foundation.

Baseball historians will etch in MLB annals Jeter’s .310 career batting average, 3,465 hits and multiple World Series titles.

However, as a lifelong New York Yankees basher, today I will choose to remember legendary Mr. November in the same way Boston Red Sox fans did yesterday at Fenway Park by earnestly and enthusiastically chanting the name of famous #2.

Derek Jeter! Derek Jeter! Derek Jeter! Derek Jeter! Derek Jeter!

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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Referees: Seen at Every Game in Every Sport

Two Minute Warning in Football

The NFL Two Minute Warning

You can see them at every game in every sport at every level.

They never actually play in a game, but they’re most deserving of our respect and appreciation.

Why? Their presence is absolutely essential.

Today’s blog focuses on none other than the guys and gals who preside over games, blow the whistles, make the calls, enforce the rules and enact all the penalties.

They work tirelessly both indoors and out, in both good weather and bad, and during all hours of the day.

They never get to rest, but remain on their feet or skates for the entire length of their respective assignments.

In the blink of an eye, these non-athletes make critical decisions that can be carefully reviewed and callously criticized countless times on national television – often with the benefit of super slow motion and high definition cameras.

Acting as both judge and jury, they make crucial calls that can effect legacies, decide championships and even determine the future worth of player contracts.

Plus, their hazardous professions go completely unnoticed by the average sports fan. When working behind the plate, these non-players take fastballs off their shins. Also, they occasionally get steamrolled on the football field by 300 lb. linemen.

Too often, they find themselves checked into the boards by overly aggressive defensemen and struggle to keep up with gazelles on both the basketball court and soccer pitch.

Few ever know their names.

They’re mocked, yelled at, glared upon, ridiculed and cursed.

Only referenced at sports events when their judgment is brought into question, these non-athletes never receive the credit they deserve.

Yes, they’re the zebras, the blind mice and the dastardly devils that may – or may not – blow their whistles in your team’s favor.

These officials, umpires or refs, maintain order on the hardwood, the ice, the pitch, the gridiron and the baseball diamond.

Without them, there would be no games at all.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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Lou Holtz & ESPN College Game Day

ESPN sportscaster Lou Holtz

ESPN College Game Day’s Lou Holtz

Lou Holtz’s ESPN College Game Day sterling studio schtick earns him a spot in our living rooms each fall weekend.

Sure, little Lou looks like he never played a lick and probably couldn’t bench press a broom.

For cryin’ out loud – as this charismatic old coaching codger likes to say – I absolutely love Lou Holtz even more now as a talking head and co-anchor with Mark May during ESPN College Game Day broadcasts.

Lou Holtz’s candid college football coverage carries clout!

Viewers are smitten by the outspoken purity of this grandfatherly pigskin pundit and television’s a-typical talking head.

Who cares if this retired coach sports a face for radio rather than network television? His colorful commentating is welcome in my living room any day of the week.

The former Notre Dame, South Carolina and Minnesota head football coach may mis-pronunciate, inarticulate and mis-syllabicate whenever he opens his mouth.

But, what fan really cares?

The immensely loveable Lou emanates total trust.

He prognosticates with passion and purpose.

Most importantly, he generates unbridled enthusiasm from the ESPN Sports Center Studio.

Football fans look quickly past his saucer shaped spectacles.
They learn to live with his lovable lisp.

They humor him for his histrionics and hair-brained hunches.

Why? Because they, too, absolutely love Lou Holtz!

Favorite SportscastersBy the way, loveable Lou’s featured in my new sports comic book as my #5 Favorite Sportscaster.

Click on the red cover above and safely download the book for 99 cents from Amazon.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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MIKE Debuts New Book: Favorite Big Things in Sports!

Wilt the Stilt Chamberlain NBA

NBA great Wilt Chamberlain

My new sports comic book Favorite Big Things in Sports just released on Amazon. It showcases seven super-sized athletes and three extra-large, non-athletic surprises. And, all of my choices are big!

That’s because all of my choices needed to be big, real big, to qualify for this book.

All are instantly recognizable because of the impact that they’ve wielded in sports. Yes, even the non-athletic ones.

That’s why fans have swooned over these giant sports icons whose names or descriptions start with – or include – the word big.

Check out my selections:

Read about a Hall of Fame MLB slugger who hit the baseball so hard that his team’s television announcer claimed he actually hurt the ball every time he hit.

Frank Thomas The Big Hurt

MLB’s The Big Hurt

Recall an NFL defensive lineman who was built like an extra-big, heavy duty kitchen appliance.

The Fridge

William The Refrigerator Perry

Smile at one extremely popular big guy who was known as much for his big size as he was for his big personality and even bigger NBA basketball resume.

Shaq

The Big Shamrock Shaquille O’Neal

Think back on a big MLB pitcher with a flaming fastball and wicked slider who was a big intimidation on the mound.

MLB pitcher Big Unit Randy Johnson

The Big Unit Randy Johnson

Learn that because of the dominance of this basketball giant seen at the beginning of this blog, the NBA changed its rules.

Laugh or cringe over a big mouth that is both entertaining and aggravating to baseball fans – sometimes in the very same inning.

the heckler

Baseball’s rowdy fan – the Heckler.

Remember a Major League Baseball team that churned through opponents like a big red tractor during the 1970’s.

Cherish the big green wall that ranks as one of the most beloved landmarks in all of professional sports.

Fenway Park's Left Field Wall

The Green Monster

Recognize marketing campaign that is not only BIG, but promotes a professional league where amazing continues to happen.

And, applaud big talking, tough athletes who comprise my last chapter in Favorite Big Things in Sports.

trash talking in sports

Trash Talk in sports

Why? Because they back up their big bark with bite!

Book 13 - Favorite BIG Things in SportsWrite me at mikeonsports@yahoo.com if you think some of your big favorites in sports should have made it into my book.

Click on the red cover above and safely download Favorite Big Things in Sports for only 99 cents from Amazon.

Look forward to your comments.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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#TBT Sports Blog: Heisman Trophy Winner Bo Jackson

NFL and MLB star Bo Jackson

Heisman trophy winner Bo Jackson

Today’s #TBT sports blog focuses on one of the greatest athletes of all time – Heisman Trophy winner Bo Jackson – who was recently featured in an ESPN Films’ 30 for 30 documentary.

Titled You Don’t Know Bo ESPN captured Jackson’s amazing athleticism, and the film became the sports media giant’s highest rated documentary ever.

As the doc’s title suggests, sports fans may not have completely known the film’s star Vincent Edward Bo Jackson.

This athlete’s fabulous dual-sport career was cut short due to a chronic hip injury.

Sports fans gleaned plenty from the film by witnessing his exploits on the baseball and football fields of 25+ years ago. They learned all they needed to know to recognize Bo Jackson as one of the greatest college athletes of all-time.

A 1985 Heisman Trophy winner, Bo Jackson not only dominated on the football field for the Auburn University Tigers. He also excelled at two other sports – baseball and track.

Voted #8 on ESPN’s list of the top 25 NCAA football players ever, Jackson dazzled as a fast and powerful running back while at Auburn.

The 6’1” and 230 lb. Jackson rushed for an amazing 6.6 yards per carry. He amassed a staggering 4,575 career yards and scored 45 total touchdowns (43 rushing and 2 receiving).

This Heisman Trophy winner became the number one overall pick in the 1986 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. However, because the Bucs inappropriately contacted Jackson outside of NCAA rules and regulations, the running back became ineligible for baseball during his senior season in 1986. As a result, Jackson chose not to sign with Tampa Bay and agreed to play professional baseball with the Kansas City Royals organization instead.

While at Auburn, Bo Jackson starred in two other sports. The football star qualified for the United States Summer Olympic Trials twice in the 100 yard dash. Jackson’s incredible speed became extremely evident during the spring of 1985 when he recorded the fastest 40-yard dash time ever at 4.12 seconds at the NFL Combine.

In addition to track, the former Auburn Tiger excelled on the baseball diamond. In 1985 he batted .401 with 17 home runs and 43 runs batted in while starring defensively in the outfield as well.

After graduating from Auburn, Jackson played eight years in Major League Baseball with the Kansas City Royals, the Chicago White Sox and the California Angels. He also left his mark in the NFL while playing four seasons with the Oakland Raiders.

This phenomenal athlete is still the only athlete ever to be voted an all-star in two different professional sports – Major League Baseball and National Football League – and NOT be voted into either sport’s Hall of Fame.

Sadly, Bo Jackson’s brief but memorable dual-sport career ended prematurely. Without his hip injury, he undoubtedly could have been a Hall of Famer in two professional sports.

Now that’s a fact, thanks to ESPN Films 30 for 30 documentary, that every sports fan knows. And not just Bo!

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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Worst About Sports: Athletes on Twitter

athletes & twitter

LeBron James sending out tweet about post game plans.

Sports fans won’t argue that athletes on Twitter is the perfect prescription for disaster.

Star athletes with big egos and bigger Twitter followings become easily vexed by the opportunity to share their random thoughts.

However, too many unpolished jocks think they’re poet laureates and recklessly post to a Twitter universe poised to pounce on anything insensitive, unproven or irresponsible.

Reading tweets about Dwight Howard’s stance on Middle East politics, Paul George’s musings about domestic violence or anything ever posted by self-absorbed boxing champ Floyd Mayweather, Jr. ranks as one of the worst things about sports.

So, before the metaphorical twit hits the fan again, let me publicly confess that I’ve got some major issues with Twitter.

That’s why Twitter has a hash tag of its own in this book as well as in another FREE book Worst About Sports.

FREE Worst About Sports I am definitely NOT a fan of athletes on Twitter sharing what they’re eating for breakfast, what their dog is doing and where they plan to go sneaker shopping next.

I’m an old-school-write-it-out-in-long-form-type-of-guy who really gives a twit about sports journalism.

I take my sports writing seriously. I’m not a big fan of horse-twit Twitterati wanna-bees who think sports journalism is shooting the twit in abbreviations that cover only two real lines of text.

Any good twit – or for that matter – any bad twit that happens in sports worth writing about can’t possibly be done with 140 twitty characters!

When you tweet, you can never say enough important twit in 140 characters, thus leaving readers questioning if you ever really knew your twit in the first place.

So, don’t be a Twithead.

While covering a sports story, don’t send out cheap twit tweets because you’ll eventually find yourself up twit creek without a paddle.

Plus, your loyal sports readers will tell you to go eat twit. They’ll also think you can no longer tell the difference between twit and shinola.

Sports fans want to relive the exciting twit that happens during a game and not piece together chicken twit abbreviations further complicated by hash tags, RT’s, direct messages, nudges, faves and tiny curl links.

If you have issues with Twitter too, then stop bull-twitting around.

Don’t rely on this new stupid twit they call micro-blogging for your journalistic expression.

You heard it from me first, because the twit stops here.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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Sports’ Deadly Language Is Absolutely Lethal

sports cliche backs against the wall

Team has its backs against the wall

Sports’ deadly language is absolutely lethal.

It’s rich with dire references. It overflows with clichés crying out for imminent death.

Like the comic that introduces this chapter, it makes you feel like your back is against the wall and a firing squad is poised to pull the trigger aimed at you.

The deadly language of sports also finds a place at #4 in my book Deadly Sports Stuff.

Deadly Sports StuffSure, sports’ deadly language may sound very depressing at times, but don’t blame me. Blame the morbid manner the media reports on the NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL.

During my sports journalism career, I’ve spent plenty of time attending sports events and watching games on the big screen.

I’m routinely assaulted by the deadly language that sportscasters employ.

Tell me if some of these sports references don’t make you feel like you’re being clunked on the head by a coffin.

For example:

The QB made a fatal mistake, and he got buried by the linebacker.

When the batter failed to execute the suicide squeeze play, the base runner became a dead duck.

When time expired, it forced sudden death overtime in this life or death soccer match.

The opponents’ deadly 3 point shooting in the game murdered us.

Former Arkansas Razorbacks basketball coach Nolan Richardson captured a 1994 NCAA title. He attributed his championship victory to his team’s “40 Minutes of Hell” defense.

A couple of NCAA football teams play their home games in football stadiums known as Death Valley.

If the previous “expiring” expressions don’t bury you, consider these team nicknames that also comprise sports’ deadly terminology.

Remember these popular nicknames for pro sports teams from the past? The 1967 Boston Red Sox were referred to as The Kardiac Kids. The 1982 Miami Dolphins were called The Killer Bees. And, the 1927 New York Yankees were notoriously known as Murderers’ Row.

Even, NFL defenses bore similarly sounding titles. Consider the Minnesota Vikings’ Purple People Eaters, the Chicago Bears’ Monsters of the Midway and the Dallas Cowboys’ Doomsday Defense.

Finally, individual nicknames like The Undertaker, The Embalmer and The Executioner are separately profiled in my sports comic book Deadly Sports Stuff.

Now, do you get it? I could argue that sportscasters’ colorfully lethal language must change immediately.

However, it hasn’t killed us yet and it probably never will.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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Eagles’ QB Nick Foles: Newest Philadelphia Sports Hero

MIKE on Sports BadgeWashington Redskins NT Chris Baker’s unnecessary hit on defenseless Philadelphia Eagles QB Nick Foles may have sparked a sidelines skirmish in yesterday’s intense NFC East rivalry game.

But, the brutal blindside block ignited the passion of hard scrabble Philadelphia sports fans, thirsty for an NFL winner and desperate for a hometown hero.

Once the pummeled Foles arose from the turf, he gingerly walked into the Eagles huddle like a timid Clark Kent walking into a phone booth.

In the next possession, the flattened Foles emerged on the field with a figurative S emblazoned on his NFL Eagles jersey, looking more like Allen Iverson, Mike Schmidt, Bobby Clarke, Dr. J and other famous Philly sports heroes of the past.

Foles quickly connected with WR Jeremy Macklin on a perfect seam route for a touchdown to break the 27 – 27 deadlock.

The embattled Foles played heroically all day against a formidable Washington defense. Though you never saw him complain, the Eagles QB was woefully protected by a depleted offensive line that struggled to keep Redskins rushers away from him on nearly every play.

Foles’ incredible gutty performance not only made Philly sports fans smile. It engendered a new celebrity sports star movement far outside the gates of Lincoln Financial Field.

Not just Eagles fans, but cynical, unreasonably tough working class sports critics in the City of Brotherly Love discovered a new hero.

Some diehard Philadelphia sports fans have already paid Foles the highest Philadelphia sports compliment. They labeled Foles “Chuck Bednarik tough” and joked that:

Rocky jumped off his statue in front of the Museum of Fine Arts in Center City and is now running up and down the museum steps pumping his fist and yelling, “Yo, Nick!”

Rival Philadelphia iconic eateries’ Pat’s and Gino’s changed their menus and are offering a new Nick Foles cheese steak.

The glass enclosed, cracked Liberty Bell started ringing again.

And, parade participants begun preparing their new entry, a Nick Foles float, for the city’s upcoming Mummers’ Parade.

For a city starving for a professional sports champion and a hometown sports hero, Philadelphia may have found their newest Rocky, AI, Bobby Clarke, Ryan Howard, Dr.J in Nick Foles.

Yo!

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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FREE Football Comics: NFL Blue Collar Teams

blue collar

The Steelers are a blue collar team.

Here’s a little levity to kick-off your Sunday NFL television viewing.

In addition to the comic above, the following verbiage is taken from my FREE Football Comics book.  Just click on the purple cover below to safely download the book from this site.

MIKE FREE Sports Comic Books…..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 – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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FSU’s Jameis Winston Should Play Other Sports

MIKE Vintage logoAssured that his knuckleheaded behavior is nearly impervious to all reasonable forms of discipline, Florida State University QB Jameis Winston should focus on other sports, too.

The 2013 Heisman Trophy winner has discovered that his reckless, immature actions away from the gridiron at Florida State aren’t subject to the same flags, fouls, faults, penalties, red cards and ejections that nearly every other college athlete on the planet faces.

Winston may be facing a paltry one game suspension today against ACC rival Clemson, but that’s peanuts compared to the discipline he’d face at other universities more concerned about the conduct of their athletes and reputations of their schools.

That’s why Winston should broaden his horizons to other athletic endeavors at FSU where he could also be a star, while remaining oblivious to the lines on the field and boundaries away from them that his peers must respect and play within.

Based on the shameful, mollycoddled way FSU officials have treated Winston, the star QB should definitely play other sports.

In the spring, he should play more baseball for the Seminoles – because he’d probably never strike out.

He should also pick up tennis between baseball games – because he could double or triple fault on each serve and FSU officials would allow him to serve again.

Winston should take up golf too – because I’m certain that FSU would equip him with a pocket full of mulligans for all 18 holes.

He should definitely try hockey – because FSU boosters would immediately lock the penalty box door whenever he skated by.

He must try basketball – because it would be impossible for him to foul out of a game.

And, the teflon QB should give the high jump a shot – because Florida State will never the set the bar high enough for him to miss an attempt.

Sure, Winston apologized – again – to his teammates for his inappropriate conduct. But, who now actually thinks this self-absorbed, reckless kid will ever learn?

He may have mentioned that he’s purposed to overcome the adversity that he’s once again caused. However, the tone deaf athlete needs to unplug his ears and start marching to the beat of a different drummer.

Otherwise, he may never be able to play a sport again, not even football, for Florida State.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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“Anytime” Devin Hester Breaks NFL Return Record

 Anytime Devin Hester

NFL’s Anytime Devin Hester

Anytime this electrifying punt returner catches the football, he could, as only ESPN’s Chris Berman can say, “go…all…the…way!”

Last night during the Atlanta Falcons’ 56 – 14 shellacking of the woeful Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Devin Hester went the distance of the football field for the 20th time in his career.

With a 62 yard punt return, the new Atlanta Falcons returner broke his friend Deion Sanders’ NFL record.

Sanders, now a television analyst, watched Hester’s return from the sideline at the Georgia Dome. Hester high-stepped the last 10 yards or so, his left hand bobbing behind his ear — a tribute to the signature move of “Prime Time.”

“It’s tough to break the record of the guy who is my No. 1 mentor,” Hester said. “I’m kind of emotional right now.”

Fortunately for those few fans still tuned into the dreadful Thursday Night Football game in the third quarter, they got a glimpse of the elusive Hester, the most dangerous returner in NFL history.

Hester’s incomparable ability to score on the football field on anyone from anywhere at anytime engendered this athlete’s simple, but clever nickname.

With blazing speed, keen vision and an innate talent to juke the drawers off would-be tacklers in the open field, Devin Hester perfectly personifies his nickname – Anytime.

At the University of Miami, the immensely gifted Hester played offense, defense and special teams, a feat highly uncommon for even the best BCS football players.

Hester’s rare versatility to play five different positions as a wide out, running back, defensive back, punt returner and kick-off return specialist prompted the Chicago Bears to select him in the second round of the 2006 NFL Draft.

Though criticized for drafting Hester with a high round pick, the Bears proved the skeptics wrong. Anytime immediately contributed and quickly emerged as a star while gaining recognition as the most dangerous return man in the NFL.

Hester’s five return touchdowns during his rookie season helped lead the Chicago Bears to Super Bowl XLI. Although the Bears lost to the Indianapolis Colts, Anytime became the first player in NFL history to return a Super Bowl opening kickoff for a touchdown.

Due to his extraordinary ability, many opposing NFL teams now kick away from Hester, ensuring good field position each time his team’s offense takes the field.

With his ability to effortlessly make would-be tacklers miss on punts and kick-offs, Hester makes reality look like a video game.

Like the opponents he faced as a returner for the University of Miami, NFL teams have also recognized there’s never a good time or bad to kick to Hester.

Why? Simply because whenever the new Atlanta Falcons speedster Devin Hester returns a kicked football, he can find pay dirt on anyone, anywhere and at anytime.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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#TBT Sports Blog: Olympic Weightlifter Pocket Hercules

Pocket Hercules weightlifter

Olympic weightlifting champ Naim Suleymanoglu

Today’s #TBT sports blog comes straight out of one of my sports comic books. It focuses on a tiny Olympic weightlifter with a memorable nickname who could effortlessly throw weight much heavier than himself around a gym.

Half of his clever nickname came from Hercules, son of the Greek mythological god Zeus, who was known for his feats of strength.

The other half of his nickname came from the tiny size of this amazing Olympic and World Weightlifting Champion.

Pocket Hercules showed uncommon strength for a person of his short stature. In addition, his interesting personal life story makes him one of the sports world’s all-time best personalities.

That’s why he also cleans and jerks his way into the #2 spot in my sports comic book Favorite Undersized Athletes.

Favorite Undersized AthletesBorn to Turkish parents in Bulgaria during the country’s difficult Communist era, the tiny 5’4” and 134 lb. Naim Suleimanov enjoyed a quick rise to weightlifting fame and success as a Bulgarian featherweight. He won a silver medal in Moscow in 1983, a gold medal in Soldertage in 1985 and another gold medal in Sofia in 1986 in the World Weightlifting Championships.

Then, Suleimanov fled his country while competing in the 1986 World Cup in Melbourne, Australia. Soon after, Pocket Hercules journeyed to Turkey and became a legal Turkish citizen under the slightly new name of Naim Suleymanoglu.

While in Turkey, the chain smoking Pocket Hercules continued to dominate featherweight weightlifting. He competed for Turkey in three Olympics – 1988 in Seoul, 1992 in Barcelona and 1996 in Atlanta. He won gold medals in each of these Olympics after his new country paid his old country of Bulgaria $1,250,000 for the rights for him to compete as a Turk.

Pocket Hercules then proved his amazing strength by winning five more World Championships, all in the featherweight division, as a Turkish citizen.

Inducted into the International Weightlifting Federation Hall of Fame in 2004, Suleymanoglu is remembered as one of the most decorated weightlifters ever. Holder of an incredible 46 world records, seven world championships and three Olympic gold medals, he is only one of seven lifters ever to clean and jerk three times his body weight.

Turkey’s national weightlifting team never needed a secret weapon or an ace in their pocket to surprise rivals at worldwide weightlifting competitions. They already had their very own, undersized Pocket Hercules to bring home the gold.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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I Want Real Sports News to Return to Sports News

MIKE on Sports BadgeI want real sports news to return to sports news.

Sounds like an odd statement. But, in light of this week’s sports headlines, my plea makes perfect sense.

If you’re a diehard sports fan like me, you probably check your Twitter feed and log onto your favorite sports site before taking your first sip of morning coffee.

We’re eager to be updated on standings, teased with current trade rumors and educated by coaches’ moves or players’ decisions. We covet the very latest on our favorite NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, MLS or NCAA college team.

However, what we don’t want is to be inundated by the seemingly endless information emanating from police blotters, court records and league disciplinary hearings that have dominated sports news this past week.

I say it’s time for something else.

Instead of reading reviling media reports of NFL players like Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, Ray McDonald and Greg Hardy belting their wives, sons and pregnant fiancés, I want to relish in stories about Major League Baseball’s Beltway franchises battering their opponents on their way to division pennant races.

Instead of being disgusted with NBA news about another team management’s callous views on race, I want to be overwhelmed by ultra-competitive playoff races.

Instead of being sullied, yet again, by the immature, irresponsible and insensitive tomfoolery of Florida State University’s Heisman Trophy winning quarterback, I want to be immersed in the best of NCAA football.

Instead of being appalled by a petulant, potty-mouthed diva whose song was snubbed by CBS Sports’ Thursday Night Football (in lieu of a needed dialogue surrounding our nation’s unspoken scourge of domestic violence) that voiced her off-put remarks with 37 million of her Twitter followers, I want to be entertained by the song, pageantry and excitement of big time sports events.

Instead of reading whether an upstate New York grand jury will indict NASCAR great Tony Stewart and force him to stand trial, I want to witness an athlete’s trial by fire on the field.

Instead of learning about another athlete’s personal fall, but I want to read about events like the Fall Classic.

Instead of cringing at the latest player’s episode of physical abuse exercised in his personal life, I want to know that a player’s last best hit was inflicted upon a competitor on the field.

Instead of reviewing videos of court room arguments, I want to see indisputable video evidence applying to the latest NFL games.

Instead of reading about drug and alcohol arrests, I want to be intoxicated by mesmerizing plays and last second scores.

In a word, I want real sports news to return to sports news.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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Heisman Winning QB Tim Tebow Scores Big in GMA Debut

heisman trophy winner Tim Tebow

QB Tim Tebow

Heisman winning QB Tim Tebow scored big yesterday as he made his first appearance on Good Morning America – the nation’s top morning news show – as host of a new Motivate Me Monday series.

Though Tebow didn’t “motivate” studio hosts Robin Roberts and George Stephanopolous enough yet to have them “Tebowing” on set, the former Denver Broncos, New York Jets and New England Patriots QB’s debut was far smoother than naysayers expected. As a matter of fact, he demonstrated himself to be a natural.

An ESPN and SEC Network college football analyst, Tebow seemed totally at ease on camera. The former Florida Gator may not be the most articulate athlete to hold a mic on camera, but he fluidly walked into his new, surprising television gig.

Tebow’s 15 minute segment, in which he interviewed 10-year double amputee Deven Jackson, revealed the former NFL QB’s maturity as an interviewer and compassion as an individual.

The trustworthy Tebow seems to be the perfect choice for GMA’s new Monday segment that highlights stories of personal triumph. Ol’ #15 comes across as genuine on camera with a fresh, unscripted delivery.

Though I’m personally not a fan of morning talk shows, I’m motivated, pun intended, to tune into to Tebow in one of the coming weeks.

Last week, Good Morning America’s ratings topped all other competitors and emerged as the number one morning program with 5.36 million television viewers and 17 million on Yahoo.

With Tebow now a part of the team, expect GMA to continue holding that number one ratings spot.

However, don’t expect fellow ESPN football talking heads like Merrill Hoge, Stephen A. Smith, Tom Jackson and others to be “motivated” enough to watch Tebow on camera.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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Monday Sports Monologue: Wrigley Field Ivy

MIKE Small Circular BadgeMention Wrigley Field and references to ivy will immediately follow.

Watching a game here will top every baseball fan’s bucket list.

The iconic venue ranks among the most legendary locations in all of sports.

Its cherished reputation softens fans’ frustrations over the losing ways of the franchise that plays there.

Mentioned in the same breath as Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium, Wrigley Field is a must visit for every baseball fan in America.

Sitting in the famed bleachers, noshing on a grilled brat and admiring the ivy planted on a Major League Baseball field comprises the ultimate experience for baseball loving fans.

Listen to my Monday Sports Monologue on the ivy at Wrigley Field and start your work week with some clever sports humor.

Planted in 1937 at the behest of Chicago Cubs’s General Manager Bill Veeck, the combination of Boston ivy and Japanese bittersweet has withstood harsh Chicago winters for nearly a century.

Click on the yellow cover below to hear.

MIKE Reporting on Sports!Even though the Cubbies haven’t won a World Series title since 1905, Wrigley remains a beloved destination for Chicagoans. Overflowing with baseball history, Wrigley lore is legendary.

On October 1, 1932 Babe Ruth purportedly pointed to the outfield stands and called a home run shot.

On August 8, 1988 lights finally got turned on for a night game.

Oct. 1, 1969 the Cubs fell to the New York Mets 6-5. It was their 18th loss in 30 days, as their 9 and 1/2-game lead over the Mets on Aug.19 turned into an eight-game deficit. History views it as one of the most significant collapses in pro sports.

Oct. 14, 2003 With the Cubs leading 3-0 and five outs from their first World Series in 58 years, Moises Alou fails to catch a ball hit just into the stands down the left-field line. Among the spectators attempting to snag the souvenir is loyal Cubs fan Steve Bartman. The team seemingly comes apart for the rest of the game, allowing the Florida Marlins to score eight unanswered runs. No pennant for the Cubs that year. The Cubs have reached the postseason twice since, getting swept in the NL Division Series in 2007 and ’08.

Thanks for the memories.

And, may your loyal fans enjoy their beloved park today on its 100th anniversary and not have to “wait ‘til next year” as the clever Chicago Cubs’ jingle goes.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!baseball footer

 

Players Association Agrees on New NFL Drug Policy

Late last week, the NFL Players Association announced that its players voted to agree upon a new NFL drug policy.

According to Ian Rapoport and Albert Breer of NFL Media, the revamped NFL drug policy will allow HGH testing in the 2014 season.

The new NFL drug policy will also raise the existing threshold for marijuana violations and evaluate first time off-season amphetamine usage under the league’s Substances of Abuse policy.

The NFL Players Association new drug policy affords some reprieve to previously suspended NFL players like Wes Welker of the Denver Broncos, Orlando Scandrick of the Dallas Cowboys, Josh Gordon f the Cleveland Browns and both Dion Jordan and Reshad Jones of the Miami Dolphins.

However, upon further contemplation of the serious matter of drug testing in sports, I started thinking about the people who’re responsible for drug testing of athletes.

This morning I experienced one of those “aha moments!” I actually laughed aloud when I realized that there are professional careers for those who need to implement the new NFL drug policy.

Plus, purposed professionals in similar roles make certain that swimmers, cyclists, runners and horses aren’t doped up on drugs before they race.

In no way was I looking to minimize the importance of this invaluable practice which protects the integrity of sports. But, I thought closely about the drug testers, thinking, what an interesting career choice.

As I ruminated a bit more, I chuckled. I wondered when that special moment occurred in a young person’s life when he or she decided to pursue a career in sports as a urine tester.

With that thought, I dusted off this one minute animated short that I created a couple years ago about urine testers in sports.

I titled the sophomoric spoof Worst Job in Sports!

You know, fans, saying you’re really swamped at work – or – that you can’t keep your head above water takes on a whole new meaning when your job is that of a urine tester – the worst job in sports!

Yes, a most interesting career choice.

But, thanks to those who do it in order to keep our sports clean.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head in sports!

MIKE on Sports Badge

 

 

Fewer Fans Will Be in Floyd Mayweather’s Corner Tonight

pretty boy floyd

Boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr

Once undefeated boxer Floyd Mayweather, Jr. enters the ring for tonight’s highly anticipated rematch against Marcos Maidana, he should expect that fewer fans will be in his corner.

The 37 year-old with the usually bumptious bearing found himself back pedaling during a recent pre-fight interview that will more than likely garner new found support for Mayweather’s opponent in tonight’s title bout on Showtime Pay Per View.

Likeable CNN journalism Rachel Nichols jabbed and poked the little 5’7” and 151 lb. fighter normally known for his cocksure demeanor and clever confident retorts.

Without doubt Nichols won her encounter with a very cautious and evasive Mayweather by decision by quizzing him on his personal domestic abuse history.

Per USA Today Sports’ columnist Nick Schwartz, “Floyd Mayweather will put his record on the line Saturday night against Marcos Maidana, who nearly defeated Mayweather four months ago. The emergence of the Ray Rice video and his subsequent suspension from the NFL has put Mayweather’s history of domestic violence issues back in the spotlight. Mayweather was sentenced to 90 days in jail in 2011 after pleading guilty to a domestic battery charge. Mayweather was released after serving two of the three months in 2012, and has since been the highest-paid athlete in the world.

Mayweather defended Rice this week, saying “I think there’s a lot worse things that go on in other people’s households,” and later apologized for his comments. In an interview with CNN, Rachel Nichols asked Mayweather on the issue, and Mayweather did his best to dance around the questions.”

In light of Mayweather’s abusive past abusive with his wife and kids, coupled with this week’s startling video of Ray Rice’s brutal assault and Adrian Peterson’s unnecessary disciplining of his son, expect a chink in Mayweather’s armor.

Could this be Mayweather’s first loss as a pro? Time will shortly tell the outcome of that question.

However, any random poll taken today will reveal that because of the flamboyant fighter’s abusive past, fewer fans will be in his corner.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

MIKE Sports Comic: Boxing Footer

 

Ray Rice Story Opens Door for Domestic Abuse Dialogue

MIKE Small Circular BadgeJust watch television, listen to the radio, read any sports blog or check Twitter.

Former NFL RB Ray Rice’s sickening assault continues to dominate headlines across sports and non-sports media platforms.

And rightfully so!

Even last night, CBS Sports’ James Brown delivered an impassioned Thursday Night Football pre-game speech that both gripped and educated a national television audience.

Brown’s prime time message forced viewers to focus on a topic that has caused far too many of us to not only wince, but also embarrassingly avoid discussing in a public setting.

Brown’s words were a clarion call signaling that it’s now time for the muffled cries of battered women and children to be heard.

His message served as further proof, that because of Rice’s inexcusable actions, the plight of domestic violence in our country must be addressed – strongly, wisely and without impunity.

For all of our nation’s apparent greatness, our society has sadly been exposed for failing to properly protect our women and children from the reprehensible actions of bigger, stronger, angry men.

SafeHorizon reports that as many as three million children witness domestic violence each year and that one in four women will be affected by it during their lifetimes. These statistics are frightening.

In spite of the apparent botched way the NFL has handled the Rice case, former FBI chief Robert Mueller’s new independent investigation will unearth the facts. And, as a result of its public bumbling in this matter, the NFL should emerge as the champion of change in this incredibly important societal issue.

In a hard hitting, spine altering, concussion conscious league, it was evident that Commissioner Roger Goodell originally went soft, very soft in dealing with Rice. He fumbled badly on an agonizing topic that begs for national dialogue.

However, there is good on its way, and it’s a long awaited silver lining powerfully peeking out of the very dark cloud. The unspoken, ugly issue of domestic violence is now seriously being discussed across all levels of society. Remedial action is on the horizon as is the safety of so many whose cries have gone unheard.

Like the league’s annual comprehensive campaign of building awareness about women’s breast cancer, expect the NFL to also mandate education and awareness for the scourge of domestic abuse.

And, going forward, may the sting of Ray Rice’s cowardly knock out punch be metaphorically felt by those who would lift their fists to inflict violence on women and children.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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