2 Cent Tuesday: New England Patriots’ Tom Brady NFL G.O.A.T.

2 Cent Tuesday sports blog

Today’s 2 Cent Tuesday states the obvious!

Congratulations to the undisputed NFL G.O.A.T. Tom Brady and his New England Patriots for their stunning 34 – 26 overtime victory over the Atlanta Falcons in Sunday night’s Super Bowl LI in Houston, Texas.

Leading the Patriots’ epic comeback, Brady showcased his football excellence once again when the game’s outcome mattered most.

Few football fans can argue that the 39 year-old quarterback is the sport’s G.O.A.T. or greatest of all-time following his flawless fourth quarter and overtime performance.

Tom Brady rallied his team from a dramatic 19 point fourth quarter deficit to earn his fourth Super Bowl MVP trophy, while captaining his team to a Lombardi Trophy for the fifth time in his illustrious career.

Tom Brady Accepts MVP Trophy From Roger Goodell

Brady also displayed unparalleled maturity and professionalism immediately after the game. That’s when NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who suspended the QB star for the first four games of the season for purportedly deflating footballs to gain an advantage, ironically presented him with the game’s MVP award.

Brady traded no barbs with the sheepish Goodell while awkwardly shaking the commissioner’s hand and accepting the coveted trophy.

In addition, a humble Brady insisted that he was undeserving of the MVP acknowledgement and offered the award to RB James White who scored the winning touchdown in overtime for the Pats.

For a Super Bowl game that started slowly, Sunday night’s finish will be considered the best ever in the history of the championship game.

And, that’s primarily because of the guy directing the New England Patriots’ offense.

So, love him or hate. Cheer him or jeer him.

The New England Patriots’ #12 Tom Brady should be every NFL fan’s only choice as the sport’s G.O.A.T. or greatest of all-time.

Even the basketball’s Michael Jordan, hockey’s Wayne Gretzky, baseball’ Babe Ruth, track and field’s Usain Bolt and soccer’s Lionel Messi would unanimously agree.

And, that’s my 2 cents!

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MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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Friday Sports Funny: NBA Icon Wilt Chamberlain’s Quote

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Today’s Friday Sports Funny recalls one of my favorite sports quotes from NBA Icon Wilt Chamberlain.

“Nobody ever roots for Goliath.” ~ Wilt Chamberlain’s response to how basketball fans often treated him

Wilt’s incredible dominance as an NBA player prompted many fans to root against this giant, or Goliath, of a man.

He so totally dominated his sport that the league enacted rule changes to make the games fair for the other 99.9% of the players.

Today’s wider lane in the NBA and goal tending penalties were imposed because of the way Chamberlain vanquished all opposing basketball players.

Wilt overpowered basketball opponents whenever he stepped onto the hardwood. The 7’1″ and 260 lb. player effortlessly prevailed over all smaller, less physically gifted competitors.

Wilt Chamberlain’s towering size, strength, scoring ability and stamina empowered him to become the greatest player the NBA ever witnessed when he entered the league in 1959.

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#TBT Sports Blog: University of Michigan’s Fab 5

The Fab 5Today’s #TBT Fab 5 sports blog recalls one of the best freshmen classes in the history of NCAA college basketball.

Their Fab 5 nickname sounded more like the popular Beatles band from the 1960s. Instead, the catchy moniker heralded the most important recruiting class in the history of college basketball at the time.

The University of Michigan’s legendary Fab 5 recruiting class had four of the top ten 1991 NCAA basketball recruits.

Their fifth recruit also ranked among the top 100 high school basketball players in the nation.

Members of the Fab 5 would all become future NBA players. Chris Webber was the nation’s #1 recruit. Juwan Howard was the #3 recruit in the country. Jalen Rose was the country’s #6 rated recruit prospect.

The Fab 5 also featured Jimmy King the #10 rated recruit and Ray Jackson, who completed the group at #84.

Under Head Coach Steve Fisher, the talented Fab 5 advanced to the NCAA Championship finals in their freshmen and sophomore years. In 1992 the team lost 71- 51 to the Duke Blue Devils, and in 1993 they suffered a 77- 71 defeat to the North Carolina Tar Heels.

The Fab 5 succeeded on the court at the University of Michigan, but the players left an even bigger mark away from the hardwood.

ESPN 30 for 30 Films Featured the Fab 5

ESPN 30 for 30 Films told of the players’ influence in transforming the landscape of college basketball. Much of their story mirrored the cultural influence of London’s musical group the Beatles, referred to as the Fab 4.

This group of young basketball stars brought their own brand of style to the game. They introduced hip-hop music, baggy shorts, brash talk, shaven heads, black shoes and black socks into the then conservative culture of college basketball.

The totally talented bunch of athletes all left school early. They entered the NBA Draft and sparked a future wave of college athletes who would do the same for the NBA.

This recruiting class may be the best ever in college basketball. Yet surprisingly, they never won a national championship.

In addition, the University of Michigan was investigated for violating several NCAA rules. Unfortunately, the university later lost many of the wins and awards earned during the Fab 5 era.

Many fans agree that the Fab 5’s reckless actions hurt their legacy.

However, this group still stands in collective NCAA memory. They were the brash, entertaining, talented and most transformational group of athletes to ever step onto the hardwood of college basketball.

Like them or not, the Fab 5 deserves a spot in NCAA Basketball Favorites – baggy shorts, brash talk, black socks, bald heads and all.

MIKE NCAA Basketball FavoritesEnjoy reading about the University of Michigan’s Fab 5 and other great players and moments in NCAA basketball history.

Click on the blue cover above and safely download the book from Amazon.

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2 Cent Tuesday: Anybody But the New England Patriots!

2 Cent Tuesday sports blogIn anticipation of this weekend’s Super Bowl 51, today’s 2 Cent Tuesday sports blog tackles the privilege of rooting for your favorite team in spite of what others think about your choice.

That’s because sports transcends religion, cuts through cultural ties, eludes ethnicity, ignores bank accounts and fails to distinguish between sex, weight, age and even familial bonds.

Regardless of the sport, your favorite team is simply your favorite team – not your dad’s, your sister’s or even that of your spouse.

Your inalienable right as a sports fan is to root for whomever you want and root against any team you deem appropriate to direct your angst.

Sure, your choice may defy logic, strain family ties, break stereotypes and shatter urban myths. But it’s still your personal choice, one that should never be forced upon you at any time.

Root For Atlanta Falcons or New England Patriots?

You may live in Atlanta, but love the New England Patriots. Or, you may call New England home, but your Boston College ties have you cheering on Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons and against Tom Brady.

The right to root for your team and your favorite player is buried deep down in your DNA. It’s your privilege and your prerogative in spite of what others think or say.

Not only is it your right to choose your favorite team, but I propose it’s also a God-given sports right to cheer against another team.

Why can I hear a chorus of “Amens!” from all the Patriots haters out there?

It’s healthy and even cathartic to vent your sports fan frustration toward bitter rivals who have beat up on your boys too often in the past or carry themselves in a far too confident manner. Articulating your angst by deciding “Anybody, but…” is what’s best about sports.

For example, it’s OK if the continued, unabated success of college programs like Duke and Kentucky basketball or Alabama and USC football ruffle your feathers.

It’s understandable if the 27 World Series Championships that New York Yankees fans routinely bring up in baseball conversation makes your blood start to boil.

Plus, Bronx Bomber fans always seem to reference baseball’s purported greatest team ever – the 1927 Yanks.

It’s alright if the preponderance of championship banners hanging over the courts at Staples Center in Los Angeles or TD Bank North Garden in Boston cause you to grind your teeth.

It’s a part of the game when storied soccer teams like Manchester United, FC Barcelona and Real Madrid spend boat loads of cash to consistently attract the toptalent in the world and make you want to scream as your local club wallows in mediocrity.

Hey, maybe the original America’s Team (the Dallas Cowboys), the wanna-be America’s Team (the New England Patriots) or the most likely choice from Titletown for what should be America’s Team (the Green Bay Packers) give you indigestion at the sound of their names.

No worries, man! Just ease up. Flip on ESPN Sports Center and relax.

It’s OK to blow off some steam. Remember that you’re just fine. Allow that cup of angst to spill over as much and as long as you want.

Remember, it’s your Constitutional sports right to root for – or against – any team from any town at anytime.

In my house, the sports motto has always been, “Anybody but…”

So, “Go Falcons, and I’ll root for anybody but the New England Patriots!”

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#TBT Sports Blog: NCAA Basketball’s Phi Slamma Jamma

Houston's Phi Slamma JammaToday’s #TBT sports blog remembers Phi Slamma Jamma – the fabulous dunking fraternity that electrified NCAA college basketball fans in the early 1980s.

NBA greats Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler teamed with long, athletic and talented basketball teammates at the University of Houston to form the fictional dunking fraternity known as Phi Slamma Jamma.

Houston Post sportswriter Thomas Bonk first used the Phi Slamma Jamma nickname in 1982.

This fun phrase replaced the less popular label of Texas’ Tallest Fraternity. It married the high flying dunking style of basketball with Greek fraternity life found on college campuses.

The University of Houston Cougars quickly adopted the splashy, new nickname. They even proudly displayed the name on the back of their warm-ups during games.

Legendary Coach Guy V. Lewis

Phi Slamma Jamma teams were coached by legendary Guy V. Lewis who won 592 career NCAA games. Coach Lewis’ record included 27 consecutive winning seasons and five NCAA Final Four appearances.

During a time when college basketball coaches encouraged a more conservative style of play, Coach Lewis was a maverick. He shaped his athletic squads to use their speed, quickness and athleticism in a more wide open game.

Lewis even joked about how much he liked dunking because it was such a high percentage shot. Today, everyone dunks. Duh!

Under Coach Lewis, Phi Slamma Jamma appeared in three Final Fours between 1982 and 1984. However, they lost to the University of North Carolina in 1982, North Carolina State University in 1983 and Georgetown University in 1984.

In spite of the hype, the University of Houston Cougars team was made up of far more than dunkers who played frenetic playground style basketball.

Hakeem Olajuwon, Clyde Drexler, Larry Michaeux & More

Phi Slamma Jamma members Olajuwon, Drexler, Larry Micheaux, Benny Anders, Michael Young, Alvin Franklin and Reed Gettys could not only run and jump, but they could win, and win regularly.

In perhaps their best year, the Cougars held the nation’s number one ranking for most of the 1982- 83 season. The team built an impressive 31-2 record before advancing to the NCAA Championship game. They lost on an air ball shot that NC State’s Lorenzo Charles tipped in at the buzzer. Charles’ basket secured the late Jim Valvano his only NCAA championship.

The Houston Cougars pioneered a highly entertaining and energetic style of basketball that NCAA college basketball fans had never before seen. Because of their exciting, up-tempo play, the Cougars ushered in a new norm for NCAA college basketball.

In addition to their above the rim wizardry, these dunking, scoring and winning Cougars, best known as Phi Slamma Jamma, may be college basketball’s best team ever to never win an NCAA title.

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2 Cent Tuesday: Iconic Sayings in Sports

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

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

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

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

In this case, these iconic sports sayings fit nicely into today’s 2 Cent Tuesday blog.

Here ya go…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And, that’s my 2 cents today on iconic sayings in sports!

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#TBT Sports Blog: Remembering Pistol Pete Maravich

MIKE Comic 31 Pistol PeteToday’s #TBT sports blog honors NCAA basketball’s most prolific scorer.

Unfortunately for fans, Pistol Pete Maravich never got a chance to lace up his canvas Converse sneakers and play in the annual Big Dance.

The Big Dance or NCAA National Championship Tournament ranks as the highlight of the season for every college basketball player.

However, not every great basketball player has participated in this incredible annual event.

 

NBA superstars like Kobe Bryant and LeBron James chose to skip college and jump right into the NBA after high school.

Pistol Pete Maravich Never Played in Big Dance

But, the greatest college basketball player to never play in the Big Dance is LSU’s sharpshooting guard Pete Maravich.

Chronicled in my MIKE Sports Comic Book on NCAA Favorites, Pistol Pete averaged 44 points per game during his college career. He scored more points than any other player in college hoops history.

Maravich amassed his amazing point total in an era before the three point shot was even incorporated into the game. Plus, he did not play varsity basketball for LSU his first season.

If Pistol played today in the Big Dance, ESPN would probably be airing Pistol Pete Maravich Top 10 Plays of the Day every night.

Hoops fans would be marveling at the shaggy haired guard’s passing, dribbling, shooting and, without doubt, scoring the basketball.

Maravich gets my vote as the greatest college basketball player to never play in the NCAA basketball tournament. Who’s yours?

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2 Cent Tuesday: NFL Playoffs Spur Chippy Chatter

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

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

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

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

Steelers’ Coach Mike Tomlin’s Rash Remarks

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

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

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

NFL Needs to Fine or Suspend Bennett & Kelce

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Note that if you opt to purchase a Sports Memorabilia product, we earn a small commission from each sale. So, thank you.

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Friday Sports Funny: Clean Sheet in Soccer

soccer shut out

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vince Carter & NBA Fans’ Vinsanity

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

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

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

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

Vince Carter: 2000 NBA Slam Dunk Champion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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