Friday Sports Funny: Fickle Fans

MRO 29 Faithful to ExitsToday’s Friday Sports Funny demonstrates how fickle fans can even, at times, be the most “faithful” ones.

With time still remaining in the football game, an angry nun, an incredulous priest, a disappointed rabbi and even a bummed out shaman are heading to the stadium exit.

Their favorite team, appropriately named the Angels, is getting whipped 35 – 14 by their bitter rivals, the Devils. The supposedly “faithful” Angels fans are not happy. Instead of remaining until the game’s final whistle to support their team, they’re quickly slinking out of the stadium.

Unfortunately, scenarios like this play out regularly in NFL stadiums, NBA arenas, MLB stadiums and NHL arenas. Fickle fans are not nearly as faithful as they could or should be.

Miami Heat fans are arguably the most notorious as evidenced in the epic Game 6 NBA Finals victory over the San Antonio Spurs. Heat fans prematurely bolted the American Airlines Arena thinking the game and season was over for their squad. However, a ferocious comeback and cold blooded Ray Allen three from the corner proved otherwise.

ESPN should expose the feigned faithful on Sports Center highlight reels by showing them prematurely, and quickly, heading to exits while their beloved squads are still competing.

That kind of revealing video footage would immediately separate the true sheep from the goats or, in this case, the truly faithful from the non-faithful, or fickle, sports fans.

MIKE Vol 7 CleverClick on the purple cover above to safely download my FREE sports comic book aptly named Clever Sports Comics.

Feel free to share the book with family and friends.

MIKE on sports!

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#TBT Sports Blog: The Late NFL Minister of Defense

NFL Hall of Famer Reggie WhiteToday’s #TBT sports blog remembers the late Reggie White, an ordained pastor and Hall of Fame lineman, who brilliantly embodied his Minister of Defense nickname.

During a storied 15-year NFL career, this imposing defensive lineman known as the Minister of Defense delivered his football version of a fire and brimstone sermon by dominating opposing offenses.

Whenever Reggie White set foot on the football field, he constantly administered defensive pressure. And, when away from the gridiron, he tirelessly catered to the needs of inner-city youth and those less fortunate through his work as a Christian minister. rated White as the #7 NFL player of all-time, and ESPN Sports Nation named him the greatest player in Philadelphia Eagles history. His storied career validates their lofty choices.

White graduated from the University of Tennessee in 1984 after being named SEC Player of the Year during his senior season. The Minister of Defense then played two years in the now defunct USFL with the Memphis Showboats, earning the 1985 USFL Man of the Year Award.

After the USFL folded, White proceeded to the NFL and starred for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1985 – 1992.

While in Philadelphia, The Minister of Defense proved why he personified his respected title. He was awarded the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1987 and led the league in sacks in both 1987 and 1988. Philadelphia fans loved him, and the franchise retired his #92 in 2006, the same year he was inducted into the Football Hall of Fame on the first ballot.

Following his eight years in Philadelphia, White played for the Green Bay Packers from 1993 – 1998 before retiring in 2000 after one season with the Carolina Panthers.

During his NFL career, this Minister of Defense played as if his bully pulpit was his unstoppable bull rush into the offensive backfield. Plus, he reaped an earthly award by winning a 1997 Super Bowl XXXL title with the Green Bay Packers.

White ended his career as the NFL’s all-time sack leader with 198, a record subsequently broken by Bruce Smith of the Buffalo Bills.

Sadly, the Minister of Defense answered to a heavenly calling when he passed away prematurely from a respiratory disease in 2004.

Reggie White is best memorialized by former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, “Reggie White was a gentle warrior who will be remembered as one of the greatest defensive players in NFL history. Equally as impressive as his achievements on the field was the positive impact he made off the field and the way he served as a positive influence on so many young people.”

And all football fans, not just those in Philly, say, “Amen” about the NFL icon fondly known as the Minister of Defense.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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2 Cent Tuesday: NFL Week 4 Trending Stories

2 Cent Tuesday sports blogOnce again, sports fans will get their money’s worth out of today’s 2 Cent Tuesday sports blog which chronicles NFL Week 4 trending stories.

There’s just so much to vent about. Here are my top 10 picks.

1. Rex Ryan – What would NFL fans do if they didn’t have the new Buffalo Bills coach to kick around? The blathering Bills coach’s ridiculous remark this weekend centered on how proud he was of his team’s effort in a recent loss to the New York Giants. Really,Rex? Proud of what – an inability to remain focused? Maybe if you were a better coach, your squad wouldn’t have been so undisciplined that it committed 17 penalties in its last game.

2. Cam Chancellor – In spite of an awesome, though still controversial, play last night on the Detroit Lions’ star WR Calvin Johnson, the All-Pro safety does not need to sign a new contract. Chancellor recently inked a generous contract extension that still has three years remaining. Chancellor needs to honor the already lucrative contract he signed and just concentrate on what he does best which is to disrupt NFL offenses.

3. Cam Newton – This ridiculously talented Carolina Panthers QB needs to watch game film of his excessive preening every time he makes a play. Opposing defenses certainly aren’t fans of Newton’s cocky finger pointing, shimmy shakes and Superman poses. Just waiting for some NFL defender, who is not a Newton fan, to lay some wood on the gifted, but overly self-aggrandizing Panther QB.

4. Chip Kelly – It’s too easy to pile on here, but when will this college coach rid his playbook of all the gimmicks that don’t work in the NFL and recognize he has the most talented back in the league in DeMarco Murray who should be getting more than 10 touches per game?

5. Miami Dolphins – So much expectation swirled around South Florida to start the season. Now, so much angst amongst Dolphins fans, players and NFL insiders. All are venting about the talented team’s lackluster efforts and dismal 1 – 3 start after Fins’ owner plunks down millions for a non-performing, highly over-paid players.

6. Ray Lewis – Great player to watch, but it’s just painful to listen to #52 preach to listeners during NFL broadcasts. Why doesn’t ESPN teach the former Raven simple elocution as well as the fundamental utilization of basic words in the English vocabulary.

7. Dallas Cowboys – Say good-bye to the 2015 season, Jerry Jones. Without its big three from 2014, injured Tony Romo and Dez Bryant and struggling Philadelphia Eagle DeMarco Murray, it’s highly doubtful the Boys will be back for the remainder of this campaign.

8. Cleveland Browns – Even without Johnny Football under center this past weekend, the Browns are still a punch line. After a valiant effort to tie the game late in the fourth quarter, the Browns’ defense kicked themselves in the foot with a silly off-sides penalty, allowing the errant San Diego Chargers’ kicker another shot at a game winning field goal.

9. Bad 1 – 3 teams – The 49ers are bad, the Jaguars are worse, but the Buccaneers are simply awful even with all the hype surrounding overall 1st pick Jameis Winston.

10. Cincinnati Bengals – Led by the Red Rifle Andy Dalton, the Bengals are stomping opponents. Yet, few football talking heads are focusing on the team’s enviable start. That’s because they are needlessly overlooking the team’s brilliant play and already speculating a playoff collapse. Ugh!

NFL Week 4 may have provided ample story lines for football fans to vigorously digest and, amazingly, Tom Brady and the Patriots (the team had a bye) never made my list.

MIKE sports comic - New England Patriots QB Tom BradyPlus, only 25% of the regular season has been completed for most teams.

Just think how much more football fodder will arise for NFL fans to dissect, debate and debunk with Brady back in action and tons more games ahead this 2015 season.

That’s why I love this game! And, that’s my 2 cents!

MIKE on Sports!

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Friday Sports Funny: Ran into a Buzz Saw

MRO 32 Ran Into Buzz sawToday’s Friday Sports Funny brings to life the old sports cliche that a team “ran into a buzz saw.”

In this scary comic, you can almost hear the burring of the giant buzz saw as it prepares to mow down the fleeing Lions players.

By every indication, the Lions team picked the wrong day to face the Gators.

However, this frightening figurative comic paints a perfect word picture for teams who are not properly prepared to play.

If a team is not ready for its opponent or lets down its guard defensively, it can easily run into a buzz saw in any football game at any level – high school, NCAA or NFL.

Apparently, the Gators were expertly prepared, jumping off to a fast start against the Lions. The scoreboard reflects a 24 – 3 lead for the Gators, and it’s only the 1st quarter.

But, the Lions were ill prepared and figurative ran into a buzz saw. Their confidence is waning, and rather than fighting, they’re in full scale flight and fright mode.

Even today, this Friday Sports Funny reminds players and fans that lack of practice and mental preparedness can result in a scared looking team showing up on ESPN highlights after it metaphorically ran into a buzz saw.

MIKE Vol 5 ScaryRead other great “scary” short sports stories in MIKE’s FREE book aptly named Scary Sports Comics.

Click on the purple image above and safely download the book for FREE.

Feel free to share the book with family and friends.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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#TBT Sports Blog: Mr. October Reggie Jackson

Mr. October Reggie JacksonIt’s only fitting that Major League Baseball’s Mr. October Reggie Jackson leads off the month in today’s #TBT sports blog.

This Baseball Hall of Fame slugger wore the colorful uniform of the Oakland A’s and the traditional pinstripes of the New York Yankees.

He normally starred during the spring and summer months of the Major League Baseball season.

However, Reggie Jackson flourished on the baseball field during the fall.

That’s when he earned his nickname Mr. October.

Yankee teammate Thurmon Munson first used the title when questioned during the 1977 World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Munson told a reporter to interview Jackson. He referred to the Yankee right fielder’s history of fantastic post-season games and said, “Go ask Mr. October.”

A 1999 Cooperstown Hall of Fame inductee, Reginald Martinez Jackson enjoyed a stellar 21-year Major League Baseball career. He retired in 1987. Jackson was a 14-time All-Star who hit 563 dingers, drove in 1,702 runs and batted .262 with 2,584 total hits.

The 1973 American League MVP also had his number 9 jersey retired in Oakland and his number 44 jersey retired in New York. Pretty great accomplishments, indeed!

A clutch hitting right fielder, Jackson had the ability to perform his best during post-season play. Mr. October ranks as the only baseball player ever to be named World Series Most Valuable Player for two different teams. Jackson first won the award in 1973 with the Oakland A’s. He won it again in 1977 with the New York Yankees.

Jackson’s World Series numbers are incredible. In 27 Fall Classic appearances, Mr. October belted 10 home runs, drove in 24 runs and batted an impressive .357. He won five world titles. In the deciding Game 6 of the 1977 World Series, Jackson hit three consecutive first pitch home runs off of three different Dodger hurlers.

Baseball fans will never forget this amazing Oakland A’s and New York Yankees’ right fielder and his Fall Classic heroics.

In a Boys of Summer sport, this Baseball Hall of Famer rightfully earned his fitting autumn nickname – Mr. October.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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International Podcast Day & The Sports Bra

MIKE on sports podcastTo celebrate International Podcast Day, I’m happy to share one of best podcast episodes to date. It’s available on iTunes and Stitcher Radio.

My monologue is simply named The Sports Bra.

That’s right – The Sports Bra – that essential piece of supposed intimate attire that never gets any attention – until now!

My one minute rant focuses on a sensitive topic I’ve always wanted to address about the sports bra.

Who hasn’t thought about why sports bras aren’t manufactured for men, too, especially big beefy boys bouncing at the beach?

Plus-sized guys need just as much support, maybe even more, than pleasantly plump glorious gals.

However, bras are always associated with women. Yet, it’s evident to all that some men are better candidates for this prized piece of unseen athletic wear that Jerry Seinfeld once made famous by naming it the “manzier.”

Click here on the yellow image above and listen to my 60 second take on the sports world’s over the shoulder bolder holder.

It’ll get you thinking about equal pancake protection for guys.

And, if you like my MIKE on Sports! podcast, please subscribe on iTunes.

Also, share it with your sports buddies.

Happy International Podcast Day and have a great week.

By the way, the MIKE on Sports! podcast has been on pause for the past couple months because I’ve been researching, writing and soon releasing my next three FREE sports comic books.

Iconic Sports VenuesKeep an eye out for the release of my newest sports comic book Iconic Sports Venues which debuts next month.

Remember, like my podcasts and many of my books, they’re FREE, so share with family, friends and co-workers, and by all means, enjoy them!

MIKE on sports!

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2 Cent Tuesday: I’m Ticked Off, NFL QB Cam Newton!

2 Cent Tuesday sports blogToday’s 2 Cent Tuesday sports blog echoes my strong opinion on this past weekend’s NFL officiating brouhaha involving Ed Hochuli and Cam Newton.

Let me begin by saying to NFL All-Pro QB Cam Newton that I’m ticked off!

Yes, Cam Newton, I’m perturbed that you would discredit the NFL’s most respected referee with your hallow words.

Yes, Cam Newton, I’m agitated that you expect me, and other NFL fans, to take you seriously when you preen so confidently in a camouflage tuxedo top at a post game press conference and make accusations that cannot be corroborated.

Yes, Cam Newton, I’m aghast that you claim to be baffled by a successful attorney’s words when he is widely acknowledged by players, coaches and other NFL refs as the best in his profession.

And, yes, Cam Newton, I am amused that you think I actually believe you.

As a football fan who has followed your career since you foolishly put your very own name on a laptop you stole while a back-up QB at the University of Florida in 2008, I’ve had your number.

I’ve tracked your running quickly out of Gainesville and directly to Mississippi’s Blinn College just ahead of the University of Florida’s Student Council Committee’s formal investigation of three academic cheating allegations filed against you.

I’ve nauseated over your father, “Bishop” Cecil Newton, and his very questionable dealings with university boosters at Mississippi State University and Auburn University in purportedly negotiating your valued quarterbacking services at both campuses.

I’ve groaned over social media posts documenting your philandering and strip club frequenting while expecting us to respect you as a trustworthy, soft spoken man with Christian values.

And, I’ve watched your selfish Super Man antics complete with shirt ripping touchdown celebrations.

Your delusional belief that NFL fans actually agree with you on this Hochuli imbroglio will continue to lead to your unraveling.

Yes, your self-aggrandizement is your kryptonite.

NFL officiating guru Mike Pereira may have appropriately supported his contemporary Ed Hochuli following your ridiculous accusation that NFL microphones, other players or even accomplished lip readers could confirm.

However, ESPN’s Woody Paige may have best summarized a majority of the fans’ take on your being “ticked off” by calling you out on last night’s Around the Horn and telling you to “grow up!”

Well said, Woody, and I expect few football fans will disagree.

Please grow up, Cam Newton, because I’m ticked off that you actually think I believe you. When will you be apologizing to those you think you duped?

Grow up and be the man you want us to think you are!

And that’s my 2 cents!

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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The Heckler: Irritating or Entertaining Sports Fan?

the hecklerBecause I enjoy his antics, this big mouthed sports fan is an easy choice for my weekly post on the Sports Then and Now web site.

I am also sharing it on my blog for sports fans to enjoy.

This big babbler has been barking from the stands at sporting events since the first chariot races in Rome and original Olympic Games in Greece.

He’s that garrulous guy who plays the role of the annoying fan at games. He’s been seen and heard at every pro game in every sport for as long as fans can remember.

Many observers would say he’s just as bothersome, or entertaining, “now” as he was back “then” at sports events!

The colorful and, at times, irritating big mouth sits court side at NBA games, in the end zone at NFL games or behind home plate at Major League Baseball games and creatively maligns the opposing team’s players. His duty is to toss barbs at the other team and their fans.

Universally known as the Heckler, this super fan ironically may not boast too many fans of his own.

Some fans may find him insulting, but I like him and think he’s an expected, entertaining part of attending a professional sports event.

He’s pretty funny, especially if he’s rooting for the same team.

Plus, I can handle his non-stop heckling – provided he’s seated far enough away and doesn’t make the little hairs on the back of my neck stand at full attention with his non-stop jibber-jabbering.

And, I get a kick out of watching rival fans deal with the Heckler during a game. The guy’s entertainment factor wears off quickly, especially when he’s not cheering for their squad.

Soon, opposing fans within earshot realize this guy has a bullhorn for a voice box and no off switch for his grating trash talk.

During the rest of the game, these same rival fans are constantly on edge, much to my delight and that of all of my fellow fans.

For the rest of the game, I’m entertained by watching these rival fans try to keep themselves in check.

In a fight to the end, they struggle to restrain themselves from dumping their beer on this loud mouthed Heckler.

Because of the entertainment factor he has always provided at games since fans can remember, this timeless irritant and big mouthed sports fan secures a spot in today’s Sports Then and Now blog.

Out of curiosity, what’s your favorite Heckler line?

Let us know. Just keep it clean and leave everyone’s mother out of your response. Lol

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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Friday Sports Funny: A Really Young Football Team

MRO 47 Young TeamToday’s Friday Sports Funny brings to life another overused sports expression.

In this case, the comic features a supposed “really young football team.”

For how often sportscasters brandish this term, just once I’d actually like to see cameras zero in on a “really young football team” as pictured above.

Now, that would be funny!

The baby faced players on this team are apparently unfazed by the more mature football team looming on the horizon. Four are huddling to draw up a play, while a fifth opts to snuggle with his teddy bear.

However, football fans would never witness a scene of diaper clad toddlers wearing football helmets on an actual NFL or NCAA football field.

Yet, the really young team in this Friday Sports Funny figuratively depicts confident players on NFL teams comprised of several rookies or NCAA teams made up of lots of underclassmen.

Their demeanor shows that their youth and inexperience doesn’t faze them.

Regardless of their size and age, really young teams armed with skill and confidence never become intimidated by bigger, stronger and more experienced opponents.

According to SB Nation, the St. Louis Rams are the youngest team in the NFL with an average age of 24.94 years. It’s the fourth year in a row that the Rams have held this distinction.

The Rams have been committed to building their organization through the NFL Draft process and have amassed a very young team with excellent potential.

Hope the Rams comport themselves like these little Packers players clad in red diapers and don’t allow their age and inexperience to preclude them from competing against more seasoned NFL squads.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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#TBT Sports Blog: English Soccer Great Jack The Giraffe Charlton

MIKE Comic 76 The GiraffeToday’s #TBT sports blog recalls English soccer great Jack The Giraffe Charlton who carried a distinct advantage every time he ran onto the soccer field.

Ironically, the leg up this English legend enjoyed over the competition was actually his neck.

At 6’3″ tall, Jack Charlton easily towered above most opponents on the soccer pitch. The nickname The Giraffe was born when a rival English coach remarked that the red haired, freckled Charlton kicked like a mule and headed the ball like a giraffe.

Along with legendary Dutch star footballer Marco Van Basten, the lean and long necked Charlton is considered the best header of the soccer ball to have ever taken the pitch.

Charlton’s lengthy playing career spanned an incredible 21 years, all with the same Leeds club in England. During his days with Leeds as center back, the lanky Charlton scored 70 goals in 629 appearances. The Giraffe also accumulated 35 international caps for England and put the ball in the back of the net six times.

Charlton’s greatest accomplishment as a player occurred in 1966. Teaming with his more famous and athletically gifted brother Bobby, the Giraffe played an integral part on England’s World Cup Championship squad. They defeated West Germany 4 – 2.

After retiring in 1973, Charlton was voted into the England Football Hall of Fame. He continued his success in soccer, but next as a team manager. In his first foray into football coaching, Charlton excelled at the helm of Middleborough. He was named Manager of the Year.

The Republic of Ireland offered the Giraffe the opportunity to manage the Irish National Team. Charlton guided the small Irish nation to an incredible #6 position in the 1990 FIFA rankings. They earned a first ever World Cup appearance. The country endowed its beloved Charlton with Honorary Irish Citizenship, Ireland’s highest award.

A little known, yet noteworthy, fact is that Jack Charlton quit his job in a coal mine as a teenager in order to give football a shot. For a guy who left work in the depths of the mining industry, Jack Charlton flourished above ground.

The Giraffe’s revered stature as a manager and soccer statesman after his retirement has stood just as tall off the pitch as this long necked footballer’s accomplishments towered above the soccer pitch.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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R.I.P. New York Yankees Legend Yogi Berra

MLB Hall of Famer Yogi Berra

R.I.P. New York Yankees legend Yogi Berra!

Thanks for the wonderful memories as well as for being an incredible ambassador for the game of baseball.

You made us smile and laugh – even when you probably didn’t mean it.

For younger baseball fans, allow me to share my recollections about the incomparable Major League Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Yogi Berra who just passed away at 90 years-old.

He may be one of the greatest trans-generational athletes of all-time.

That’s because the single name Yogi is as much synonymous with baseball as it is with ridiculously funny sports quotes.

A childhood friend in St. Louis, MO originally gave baseball great Lawrence Peter Berra his now famous Yogi nickname. He said Berra looked like an Eastern Indian snake charmer.

Later, during his career in Major League Baseball as both player and manager, New York Yankees great Yogi Berra regularly charmed American baseball fans.

The 15-time Major League Baseball all-star’s performance on the baseball field has always marveled baseball fans. From his rookie season in 1949 until today, more than forty years after his retirement, baseball fans still love Yogi.

Inducted into Cooperstown in 1972, Berra may be the game’s greatest catcher. A member of baseball’s All-Century Team, Berra racked up career totals of 385 home runs, 1,430 runs batted in and a .285 batting average.

A three-time American League Most Valuable Player, Yogi Berra also won thirteen World Series Championships with the Yankees. Between 1947 and 1978, he won eleven as a player and two as a coach.

One of baseball’s most colorful and irritating trash talkers, Yogi was also equally famous for his funny expressions. Yogi butchered the English language by misusing similar sounding words. He also said some things that didn’t really make sense.

Berra’s expressions or Yogi-isms like, “it ain’t over ’til it’s over,” “a nickle ain’t worth a dime anymore,” “ I really didn’t say everything I said,” and “baseball is 90% mental and the other half is physical,” made him one of the sport’s most endearing players.

Because his expressions form a category of their own, Yogi is a key selection for another one of my sports comic books – Favorite Sports Quotes.

Berra coined some of the funniest and head scratching sports quotes of all-time. So crazy were his remarks, many sports fans wondered if he ever really made the comments attributed to him.

“Pair up in threes.”

“The other team could make trouble for us if they win.”

“It’s déjà vu all over again.”

“If you come to a fork in a road, take it.”

“I usually take a two hour nap from one to four.”

“If people don’t want to come to the ballpark, how are you going to stop them?”

“You can observe a lot by watching.”

“Always go to other people’s funerals or they won’t go to yours.”

One of Berra’s most memorable Yogi-isms, “the future ain’t what it used to be,” is partially correct.

When fans look back on #8’s career, Yogi’s remarkable playing past and memorably playful nature may never be duplicated by a future Major Leaguer.

R.I.P. Yogi Berra.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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2 Cent Tuesday: NFL Week 2 Pot of Angst

2 Cent Tuesday sports blogThe NFL may have only completed Week 2 of its 16 week 2015 season, but my pot of angst is already burbling up and gushing over.

Plenty of players, coaches, fans, commercials and new wagering web sites have wasted no time to sully my spectating enjoyment.

So, here’s my 2 cents on why my blood pressure has risen, my aggravation has increased and my patience has thinned.

Allow me vent about recent NFL Week 2 news that annoys me about as much as the squeaky voice Peyton Manning Directv commercial.

Here are seven snippets certain to ruffle your feathers, too:

Ndamukong Suh saga – the Miami Dolphins new $114 million man has transported his truck load of drama to South Florida as evidenced by his questionable Week 1 extra-curricular action and purportedly ignoring his coach’s defensive instructions during the Fins Week 2 loss to the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars.

Adrian Peterson’s standing ovation in Minnesota – OK, Vikings fans, are you that desperate for a Week 2 win that you rise and applaud a child batterer and notorious lecher who refuses to pay child support to some of his baby mamas?

Fan Duel and Draft Kings advertising – STOP! I’ve had enough of these ubiquitous ads aimed to flim-flam innocent NFL fans into thinking that it’s just as easy to win a personal fortune constructing your very own fantasy football team as it is by simply buying a Powerball ticket at a convenience store off the Interstate.

Peyton Manning commercials – tune into any game on any station and you’re likely to see plenty of Papa John’s, Directv, Gatorade and Nationwide Insurance commercials with Peyton Manning. I like the guy and respect his amazing quarterbacking ability, but enough already!

Jay Cutler injured again. Imagine that. Reporting that Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler is hurt again is about as predictable as writing that Ndamukong Suh hit a defenseless offensive player after the whistle.

Kam Chancellor’s unnecessary holdout in Seattle – why, Kam, are you being so selfish? You have three years left on an already lucrative deal, so why hurt your 0 – 2 team’s chemistry by demanding more money?

Rex Ryan bloviating in Buffalo – we all knew it was coming, but we just didn’t know we’d get this much blathering this soon in the season.

The list is probably longer than it needs to be after only two weeks of NFL action, but I just had to vent and share my burbling pot of angst.

That’s my 2 cents!

MIKE on sports!

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College Football’s Galloping Ghost Red Grange

Fomer Illinois running back Red Grange

Today’s post about college football’s Galloping Ghost Red Grange also doubles as a headline on the Sports Then and Now web site.

The blog features an incomparable college football player with the unforgettable nickname – The Galloping Ghost.

In 2008, called this electrifying running back and kick returner the greatest college football player ever.

However, nearly 90 years earlier it was Chicago sportswriter Warren Brown who attributed The Galloping Ghost name to Harold Edward “Red” Grange.

Grange earned the moniker because of his race horse speed and quick, ghostlike movements that avoided tacklers in the open field.

Tackling Grange was like trying to lasso a fast moving cloud driven by a strong wind in a large open field. Few defenders ever succeeded.

A three-time All American at the University of Illinois, the 5’11″ and 175 lb. Grange led the Illini to an undefeated season and college football’s national championship in 1923.

The Galloping Ghost’s best college game was against Michigan on October 18, 1924. Most college football fans called it the greatest individual performance in the history of college football.

Against the Illini’s fiercest rival, Grange spooked the Wolverine defense by racing the game’s opening kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown. He scored three more times on runs of 67, 56 and 44 yards – all within the first 12 minutes of the game.

There was no television or internet back in The Galloping Ghost’s era. Instead, TIME Magazine highlighted Grange’s amazing college career by including The Galloping Ghost on the cover of its October 1925 issue. It was a huge national honor.

An original member of both the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame, Grange signed with the Chicago Bears immediately after college. Grange is also a history maker for the professional sport of football. Back in the 1920s, professional football was only beginning to form nationally, and Grange became instrumental in its initial success.

Grange participated in a 67 day, 19 game cross-country series of exhibition games. For his efforts, The Galloping Ghost pocketed an incredible $100,000 for his role. The other players were paid only $100 per game.

Chicago Bears Hall of Fame owner George Halas called Grange the greatest running back he had ever seen. Unfortunately, The Galloping Ghost suffered a terrible knee injury in 1927 that inevitably shortened his professionally career.

The highlight of #77′s NFL career came in 1933. Grange made a heroic game saving play on defense in the closing seconds of the NFL’s first ever Championship Game held at Wrigley Field.

The spirit of this Galloping Ghost will always live on. And, today’s Sports Then and Now’s blog rekindles the fiery spirit of this amazing college football player.

Red Grange passed away in 1991, but today let’s remember the elusive, fast gridiron great whom recognized as the best college football player of all time.

MIKE on sports!

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Friday Sports Funny: Ref Swallowed His Whistle

MRO 34 Ref Swallowed WhistleToday’s Friday Sports Funny pokes fun at the old sports expression – the ref swallowed his whistle.

It’s easy to see in this blog’s comic that the screaming coach and the agitated players are incredulous that the ref hasn’t blown his whistle.

No one seems to happy with the official’s failure to make a call. Well, that’s because the guy is gasping for breath as his whistle is precariously lodged in his throat.

However, the question begs.

Why isn’t anyone on the soccer pitch offering to perform the heimlich maneuver on the choking ref?

Let’s all agree that regardless of the sport, referees take lots of heat for the impossible roles they perform. Much to our chagrin, they just can’t make every right call every time they officiate a game.

That’s why fans routinely hoot, heckle and holler at refs, whether they’re commenting court side, from the upper deck, at a sports bar or even from their own living rooms.

This clever comic brings to life the popular sports adage the ref swallowed his whistle. It captures the accusation that a ref intentionally swallowed his whistle during a key play in the match.

This soccer illustration metaphorically proves a point.

The actions of the players should decide the outcome of a close game – not a really bad call from an overzealous ref who really should have swallowed his whistle in the first place.

MIKE on sports!

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#TBT Sports Blog: MLB All-Time Hits Leader Pete Rose

MLB great Pete RoseToday’s #TBT sports blog spotlights one of my favorite MLB players ever.

Even during Spring Training, full throttle was the only way Pete Rose played the game of baseball.

During a meaningless pre-season game, New York Yankees’ skipper Whitey Ford gave Rose the Charlie Hustle nickname when the Cincinnati Red bolted to first base after drawing a base on balls.

Playing with a “pedal to the metal” attitude every time he took to the diamond, Pete Rose lived up to his Charlie Hustle nickname. He remains one of baseball’s most famous players, even though he agreed to be banned from the game in 1987 after betting on baseball.

Because of his epic on-field baseball successes, Rose would have been a certain first ballot Hall of Famer. Surprisingly, his first minor league manager didn’t think very highly of his talent.

According to Daven Hiskey, writing for, Pete Rose’s first manager in the minor leagues once told the Reds that, “Rose can’t make a double play, can’t throw, can’t hit left handed, and can’t run.” But, Charlie Hustle proved him wrong. He eventually became one of baseball’s all-time greats and was named to Major League Baseball’s All-Century Team.

When he retired as a player in 1986, Charlie Hustle set numerous Major League Baseball records. In addition to being the game’s all-time leader with 4,256 hits, 3,562 games played and 14,053 at bats, Rose won more games than any other player in history – 1,972.

In 24 Major League Baseball seasons, Rose set records with 23 consecutive 100+ hit seasons and 10 straight seasons with 200 or more hits. Charlie Hustle ended his career as the most accomplished switch hitter ever, with 2,156 runs scored, 746 doubles, 5,752 total bases and 1,566 walks.

One of the best players in Major League Baseball history, Rose won three World Series titles with the Reds. He also won nearly every imaginable individual award: National League Rookie of the Year (1963), National League Most Valuable Player (1973), World Series MVP (1975), two Gold Gloves (1969 and 1970), three National League batting titles (1968, 1969 and 1973) and 17 all-star appearances.

Whether you think he deserves to be inducted into Cooperstown or not because of his well documented gambling history, let’s just agree on one thing. Pete Rose proved to the doubters who mocked him that he possessed a lot more than grit whenever he laced up his baseball cleats.

When given the chance, Charlie Hustle bolted out of the batter’s box and sprinted his way into baseball’s record book as MLB’s all-time hits leader and one of the sport’s greatest players ever.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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Forbes Lists America’s Team Dallas Cowboys Most Valuable in Sports

2 Cent Tuesday sports blogToday’s 2 Cent Sports Blog reports on the exorbitant valuations of the top franchises in professional sports.

According to Forbes Magazine, the Dallas Cowboys, widely known as America’s Team, is now considered the world’s most valuable sports franchise.

With a worth of $4 Billion, a 38% increase from only a year ago, the Cowboys surpassed soccer’s Real Madrid, FC Barcelona and Manchester United to vault into the number one spot.

Owner Jerry Jones proved that his “meager” $140 million investment in 1989 has paid off handsomely.

Though topping the list of most valued NFL franchises for the ninth straight year, the Dallas Cowboys, ironically, may still not be our country’s most beloved pro sports team.

And, calling the Dallas Cowboys’ America’s Team may immediately instigate a arguments no matter where in the country you or what sport is your favorite.

America's Team

The Dallas Cowboys – America’s Team

Fans in all sports have their favorite teams.

In basketball, there are loads of Los Angeles Lakers lovers just as there are Miami Heat diehards.

In soccer, there are legions of FC Barcelona backers and Manchester United faithful.

In hockey, there are probably just as many Boston Bruins loyalists as there are Chicago Black Hawks fans.

When it comes to baseball, fan loyalty doesn’t run much deeper than followers of the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees.

And, in football, New Englanders pay homage to the Patriots, and Cheese Heads in Wisconsin are equally as crazy about their Packers.

However, in spite of a few recent mediocre seasons, the Dallas Cowboys are still known as America’s Team – a moniker NFL Films innocently attached to the Cowboys as America’s Team way back in 1978.

Decades ago the Dallas Cowboys deserved the honor that NFL Films gave them because of their dominance and innovation on the football field.

Most fans loved the team’s exciting offense, stingy defense and colorful players. And, all football fans credit the Cowboys for the new, clever additions they brought to the game.

Legendary coach Tom Landry introduced the more up tempo shot gun offense, pre-snap movements and a swarming flex defense never seen in the NFL.

The Cowboys were pioneers in the game of football that they dominated for nearly three decades in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.

America’s Team won five Super Bowl titles.

They also boasted some of the NFL’s greatest stars, like QBs Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman, RBs Tony Dorsett and Emmitt Smith, WRs Bob Hayes and Michael Irvin and DEs Ed Too Tall Jones and Randy White.

During recent years the team has not been the dominating force it had been. Many can argue that the New England Patriots, Green Bay Packers or Pittsburgh Steelers are more worthy to carry that title.

However, the Dallas Cowboys in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s earned the nickname America’s Team because of their unrivaled success.

They also set the standard for great American professional sports franchises.

That’s why the Dallas Cowboys, or America’s Team, now lassos the #1 spot on the Forbes list of most valuable franchises in all of sports.

And, that’s my 2 cents.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers Fail to Siege the Day on NFL Opening Day

NFL Thumbs Down LogoBrimming with expectation, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers unveiled a new look yesterday for their historically struggling NFL franchise, but failed to “siege the day” as their fans had hoped.

The team donned their pewter and red uniforms with every intention to “siege the day” as the Bucs’ splashy new marketing slogan suggested.

With the league’s top draft pick, Jameis Winston, starting at QB, Buccaneer fans and players alike were giddy with optimism on the opening day of the 2015 NFL season.

However, the Tennessee Titans, led by 2014 Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota, required only a few minutes to thoroughly dampen the anticipation of Bucs fans.

The quick first quarter combination of Mariota’s passing and Winston’s opening drive miscue was like firing a torpedo into the side of the Bucs’ iconic pirate ship which seemed to teeter in one of the Tampa stadium’s end zones.

A palpable pall descended upon Raymond James Stadium before all the Buccaneers faithful had even found their seats.

Justifiable murmuring had already begun in the hot Tampa sun.

Was yesterday’s first quarter a precursor to another turbulent year?

Would Winston really become a bust like former 1st pick JaMarcus Russell?

How long until Tampa Bay fans start calling for Lovie Smith’s head?

Was the new Bucs’ marketing slogan of “siege the day” already obsolete?

Are the Bucs’ cursed?

After yesterday’s horrific start to an eventual 42 – 14 drubbing by a mediocre opponent, the Bucs’ new look team and highly prized QB pretty much resembled the old one.

Famished football fans in the Tampa Bay area are hungry for a winner. They desire the team’s return to its 2002 Super Bowl championship form.

But, based on the Bucs’ bumbling, fans will need to wait.

Yesterday’s performance left most fans to mutter that the more things change in Tampa, the more they remain the same.

The once woeful Bucs, or Yucs, started their NFL history in 1976 by losing an unprecedented 26 straight games.

At .385% Tampa Bay has posted an overall 241-385-1 career franchise record, dead last among 32 NFL teams.

In recent years, the Bucs’ struggles have continued. The team hasn’t made the post season since 2007. Plus, the team’s most recent history seemed to capture greater TMZ coverage than ESPN headlines. For example:

A recent MRSA outbreak sidelined three key players in summer 2014.

The team battled a Kardashian like saga of innuendo and circumspection in 2013 surrounding the release of former first round draft pick and starting QB Josh Freeman.

Previous coach Greg Schiano failed miserably to skipper a new mutinous Buccaneer ship.

And, the former face of the franchise, Warren Sapp, failed badly in representing the Bucs and the NFL as a Hall of Fame inductee with his ugly, well-documented recent history away from the gridiron.

Thankfully, Bucco Bruce, the original mustachioed swashbuckling Buccaneer mascot is long gone. And, so are the team’s garish cream sickle color uniforms.

But, a shiny new 1st round draft pick at QB is not Tampa Bay’s miraculous panacea.

Positive institutional and culture changes must be implemented immediately.

Mental toughness, respect for authority, tolerance in the locker room as well as disciplined players both on and off the field are the prescriptions for positive change which will lead to winning ways.

Hard nosed, defensive minded and relationship oriented new head coach Lovie Smith is a terrific move to right the Buccaneer ship.

Now, he’s a substantive change worth noting, and the Bucs’ new coach will be worth watching in this 2015 NFL season which started off in troubled waters for the seemingly always struggling Buccaneers.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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Former WNBA & Olympic Star Lisa Leslie Inducted into Naismith HOF

Former WNBA great Lisa Leslie

Lisa Leslie

Last night the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame inducted into its esteemed 2015 class arguably the greatest women’s player ever – four-time Olympic gold medal winner and three-time WNBA MVP Lisa Leslie.

The statuesque beauty joined fellow inductees: University of Kentucky Coach John Calipari, former Boston Celtics coach Tommy Heinsohn, former USC, Iowa & Washington State coach George Raveling, former NBA stars Dikembe Mutombo, JoJo White and Spencer Haywood and former international basketball luminaries John “Wonder Boy” Isaacs of the New York Rens and Australian coaching legend Lindsay Gaze.

Polished and poised, Lisa Leslie gave the most compelling and heartfelt acceptance speech among all honorees.  The WNBA could not have scripted a better person to have once been the “face” of its sport when the tall and slender Leslie dominated the women’s game a decade ago!

Considered the greatest player in WNBA history, a confident and immensely talented Lisa Leslie also graced the covers of magazine and television ads as a Wilhemina model at the same time she flourished as a professional women’s basketball player.

The 6’5″ University of Southern California grad became the number seven pick in the 1996 WNBA Draft while simultaneously signing on with one of the world’s most recognized modeling agencies.

Lisa Leslie graduated from USC as the PAC 10’s all-time leader in points, rebounds and blocked shots. She quickly asserted herself in the fledgling WNBA which debuted only a year earlier in 1995.

Leslie played brilliantly during her charmed 12-year career with her hometown Los Angeles Sparks. As the Sparks’ center, she led them to back-to-back WNBA titles in 2001 and 2002.

The cover girl center distinguished herself during her playing days by retiring in 2009 with these individual accomplishments: 3x MVP, 8x All-Star and holder at the time of her retirement as the WNBA career leader in points and rebounds.

Leslie also achieved two other unrivaled individual feats as a professional women’s basketball player. In addition to being named regular season MVP, All-Star Game MVP and Playoffs MVP all during her epic 2001 season, Leslie eventually invested in the same team – the Los Angeles Sparks – that drafted her and became a co-owner of this WNBA franchise.

Apart from the WNBA, Leslie remains the most successful female basketball player of all-time. She’s also the only Olympian ever to win four consecutive gold medals in a team sport – in 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008 – an accomplishment which may never be duplicated.

Most fans recall Lisa Leslie for her extraordinary WNBA and Olympic success as well as being the first woman to ever dunk a basketball during an official game. And, many fans see her today on television as a knowledgeable studio analyst for women’s basketball.

However, I choose to remember this statuesque basketball playing model as an inspiring author and role model who willingly gives back to her community.

Also, I think that we can all agree that Lisa Leslie’s is a face that no one will soon forget.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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New England Patriots QB Tom Brady Brilliant in NFL Season Debut

MIKE sports comic - New England Patriots QB Tom BradyWith the NFL Deflate Gate controversy legally behind him, New England Patriots QB Tom Brady was brilliant last night and let all the air out of his detractors’ arguments during his 2015 NFL season debut.

Brady dissected a normally stout Pittsburgh Steelers defense with pinpoint passing and expert leadership.

The recently maligned, but now surprisingly resilient Tom Brady spoke volumes with his play on the Foxboro turf by completing 25 of 32 passes for 288 yards and four touchdown passes, three to his favorite target TE Rob Gronkowski.

Poised and purposed, Brady dismantled the Steelers secondary and relished his opening night success in which he appeared to already be in post season form.

Though I admire Tom Brady’s football success and acknowledge his excellence as an athlete and product spokesman, I’ve never been a fan of #12. I’ve always been wedded to Philadelphia pro sports, so cheering on any team from New England is anathema to me.

However, last night I rooted for Brady. Yes, I actually pulled for the pretty boy in the New England Patriots’ pocket.

That’s because I admired how Tom Brady endured the Roger Goodell led kangaroo court surrounding the Pats’ alleged deflating of footballs during their 2014 decisive playoff win against the Indianapolis Colts.

Brady’s unequivocal off-the-field victory last week followed by his on-the-field excellence last night, ironically, against a now “deflated” NFL commissioner made my smile.

Judge Berman’s decision to vacate Brady’s four game suspension buoyed my confidence in our nation’s legal system, while humbling a highly overpaid man with entirely too much autonomy in Goodell….who needed to be humbled.

Like so many other football fans who watched Tom Terrific’s brilliant performance on NBC Sports, I was also surprised that it was so precise and so definitive following the Deflate Gate public pressure he endured.

The Uggs wearing QB effortlessly soared above all the negativity that surrounded him over the past 8 months.

Whether you believe Brady was culpable or not, it’s not the point of this blog post. What is the point is that every red blooded American sports fan needs to recognize that Brady is no ordinary Tom.

Yes, let me guarantee that this will be the only time I ever celebrate the New England Patriots QB.

And, that’s why I’ll end this post with, “Go Eagles!”

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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#TBT Sports Blog: French FIFA Star Franck “Scarface” Ribery

FIFA football star Franck Ribery

Scarface Franck Ribery

Today’s #TBT sports blog focuses on French FIFA star Franck Ribery who earned his nickname Scarface from the noticeable facial scars he suffered in a car accident as a child.

At #3 in my book FIFA Favorites, Ribery displays frightening speed, chilling patience and a punishing style to scare his opposition on the soccer pitch.

MIKE FIFA FavoritesRibery’s facial scars have caused many to compare him to actor Al Pacino’s frightening character Tony Montana from the Scarface movie.

At 5’7”and 158 lbs. this Frenchman may look like a back yard brawler. But, his overall game is beautiful on the soccer field.

Legendary French midfielder Zinedine Zidane once called Ribery, “the jewel of French football.”

Ribery made his start on the European football scene in 2004 in France’s Ligue 1 with FC Metz. Then, he quickly emerged as a star for Marseille. This fast, tricky and fearless left wing twice became France’s Player of the Year in 2007 and then again in 2008.

Named to the French National Team in 2006, Scarface represented his country in both the 2006 and 2010 World Cups.
He has earned 60 caps and scored 10 goals for France.

One of European football’s top overall players, Ribery signed with Bundesliga powerhouse Bayern Munich in 2008.

While with the German club, Ribery’s outstanding play has been key in Bayern Munich’s success. The club advanced to the UEFA Champions League game in both 2010 and 2012 where Bayern finished as runner-up on both occasions.

However, in 2013 Ribery’s resilient Bayern-Munich club defeated its Bundeliga rival Borussia Dortmund to win the Frenchman’s first UEFA Champions League title.

Scarface’s Bayern Munich career has been slowed by nagging ankle and knee injuries. In spite of these problems, as of this writing Ribery has appeared in 160 games. He’s found the back of the net 54 times and earned the German Footballer of the Year Award in 2008.

Many football fans focus on the scars lining Franck Ribery’s face.

But, soccer Scarface’s energy, incredible pace and overall beautiful skill on the pitch have made him a sort of movie star like Al Pacino’s chilling character.

Not on the big screen, but in international football.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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