Last Chance U

last-chance-uIf you love sports like I do, and you live for second chances as most do, and if you’re sick of fake and false and phony living, like those hungering and thirsting for what’s right do, then the Netflix original documentary series “Last Chance U” is for you. But get ready, because it’s real, it’s raw, and it’s redemptive.

Coach Buddy Stephens and the East Mississippi Community College Lions Football Team are featured in this award-winning documentary in which they are followed for two consecutive seasons. They are dominant on the field but also tend to be self-destructive off it. It’s must see TV that you will use as fuel for the fire of life when you or someone you know needs a boost or a bolster or just a run of the mill shot in the arm.

Coach Stephens is hard-nosed and sometimes hardheaded. He’s harsh, headstrong, willful, and obstinate, just like many of his players. But the truth is, it takes one to know one.  Many of his star athletes fell from grace at larger, D-1 schools, and playing at East Mississippi State Community College is their last chance and their only ticket out and on and up towards the dream of playing in the NFL. But they won’t make it if they don’t listen and learn some hard life lessons. 

That’s why I believe sharing the Christian faith should be easy. We have all fallen short, we all need a second chance at living and at life and at a lifestyle that’s pleasing to God.We all need to learn how to overcome and comeback after being held back. And sometimes, albeit most times, we are the ones who have used our own arms to hold our own selves back from success.

I love Coach Stephens. I do. I love how he knows that these mostly minority young men that he coaches need a heavy dose of truth-or-consequences, because the school of hard knocks can be unforgiving and unmerciful. But Coach Stephens has also looked himself in the mirror and knows that after a failure he and his players must pick themselves up and dust themselves off if they are to have a chance at succeeding at “Last Chance U”.

And I love the heart and the spirit of the Athletic Academic Advisor, Brittany Wagner.  Some might say that she’s just a pretty face but she’s doing a gritty job of guiding these student athletes off of the field when all they want to do is to play on it. But they also need to graduate, and her love and concern for her students shines through. 

LastChanceU-Coach Stephens-Brittany Wagner
Last Chance U-Coach Stephens & Brittany Wagner

I’d love to put my new book, Upsets, Comebacks Turnarounds in the hands of Coach Stephens and in the hands of his staff and his student athletes.  Last Chance U is a mirror of the book because his story and the stories of many of those he’s coached over the years are just like the stories from the Bible; they’re worth being told, over and over again.


My Book Is Out! “Upsets, Comebacks & Turnarounds” Coming Soon

UCT Cover

Hey Everybody! I birthed a book!

After years of writing and editing and kneading and massaging this baby of an idea inside of me, voila, my book is here!  It will be available on and soon so stay tuned! I hope you read and enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it. It’s a pick me upper and a shot in the arm for all who love the little guy and the also-rans in sports and in life. 

Here a few excerpts from the back cover:

In the World of Sports, there’s nothing like an upset win, a comeback from way back, and a complete turnaround. The same is true in life. In sports, we celebrate the underdogs, both the teams and the players who are at a distinct disadvantage and are expected to lose. Yet some way, somehow, these teams and players  find a way to triumph in spite of adversity.

Upsets, Comebacks and Turnarounds looks back to those who have alreadly overcome and looks forward to those facing overwhelming obstacles yet to be overcome.

This book examines the intersection of God and sports . . . and is a tribute to all of the biblical long-shots; to all of those who, in sports and in life, “didn’t stand a chance.”

Is Baker Mayfield The Answer to the Cleveland Browns’ Question?

Baker Mayfield is the embodiment of faith and hope and love for the game that Cleveland Browns fans have everywhere. At least some think he is. He’s a risk and a gamble and a wild card and a wild one as the Browns are going out on a limb and betting the farm on a hothead who’s got a hot arm who hopefully can get on a hot streak. We’ll all have to just wait and see how it turns out because right now he’s just numbers on paper. Here’s what an ESPN staff writer had to say about Mayfield being the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft:

Pat McManamon

ESPN Staff Writer


“The Cleveland Browns surprised the NFL world by making quarterback Baker Mayfield the first overall pick in the draft Thursday night.

The Browns has been expected to take a quarterback and had insisted Mayfield was under consideration through the pre-draft process. Most speculation still centered on USC’s Sam Darnold and Wyoming’s Josh Allen, but momentum started to build in the last few days that the Browns favored Mayfield.

Cleveland also had the fourth pick Thursday and used it to select Denzel Ward, a cornerback back from Ohio State.

Mayfield, who had a stellar college career at Oklahoma but also made headlines with his behavior on and off the field, will be tasked with turning around a Browns team that went 0-16 last season.

Mayfield joins a roster that has Tyrod Taylor as the starting quarterback and Drew Stanton as the backup. The Browns hope to play Taylor this season, allowing Mayfield time to learn and grow. Mayfield, though, said at the scouting combine he would never “settle” for a backup role.

The Browns have not made the playoffs since 2002, which is the longest active drought in the NFL. Since returning to the NFL in 1999, the Browns have had 28 different starting quarterbacks — the most in the league during that span.

Baker Mayfield will be tasked with turning around a Browns franchise coming off an 0-16 season in 2017. Harry How/Getty Images

Mayfield led FBS with a 70.5 completion percentage in 2017, and he set a single-season record by averaging 11.5 yards per attempt. He threw for 4,627 yards with 43 touchdowns and just six interceptions.

But Mayfield also garnered negative attention in recent years for his on-field antics, which included making an inappropriate gesture toward Kansas’ sideline and for planting Oklahoma’s flag on Ohio State’s logo at the 50-yard line after the Sooners’ victory over the Buckeyes. And if that wasn’t enough, on top of all that, Mayfield also was arrested last year in Arkansas on charges of public intoxication, disorderly conduct, fleeing and resisting arrest. He reached a plea deal last June and paid fines for several of the charges.

Throughout the draft process, the Browns said they felt Mayfield had admitted to mistakes and they were behind him. Browns general manager John Dorsey even joked with Mayfield at the team’s combine interview, asking how he liked food trucks, a reference to the February 2017 arrest that took place near food trucks.

Mayfield, who is from Austin, Texas, transferred from Texas Tech to Oklahoma after his freshman season. During his college career, he threw for 14,607 yards and had 131 touchdown passes and 30 interceptions. He also rushed for 21 TDs and caught another during his college career.”

Why Dallas Dumped Dez


You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out why the Cowboys dumped their ALL TIME leading receiver, Dez Bryant. It’s as plain as the nose on your face. Since he came into the League and made a home in Dallas, Dez has been a brew of venomousness that is frighteningly viral. His actions, on and off of the field, have been radical (to say the least) and ultimately lethal to his team and fatal to his career.  In other words, Dez is a hot mess.

Dez may be talented, but he’s also toxic. What Dez did not realize is that no stand out statistics or ridiculous records can take the place of a player who is reliable and dependable and stalwart and not unpredictable. In other words, character still counts.

Bryant was the Cowboys’ first-round pick in 2010. He amassed more than 1,000 yards receiving, with double-digit touchdowns, for three straight seasons from 2012 to 2014. He finishes his time with the Cowboys with a team-record 73 touchdown receptions to go with 531 catches for 7,459 yards in 113 games. And yet, the Cowboys were all too eager to say “Bye Felicia” to their golden boy of a receiver. In other words, see ya, don’t want ta’ be ya.

Dez is done in Dallas because he did not think he was a distraction to the team. It just goes to show; you can’t do what you want or say what you want and still get what you want. It just doesn’t work that way. Dues must be paid.  And in order to play in the NFL, or on any other reputable sports team, you need to do as mom taught us all, and that is to mind your manners. Here’s what the Dallas Cowboys had to say about cutting Dez:

“The other thing that we all see, and it is certainly visible to anyone who watches our games, watches our sideline, is Dez is certainly a fiery guy who plays with a lot of emotion both on and off the field,” Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said on the team’s podcast. “Sometimes that can be a distraction. It can be a distraction for Dez, it can be a distraction for other teammates. And we just have to really get our hands around when you put all the full body of work together where that’s headed.”

Once again, the lesson is crystal clear; your central core is more important than all of your shiny outer trimmings combined.   People might say that they like the attitude and all of the antics, but at the end of the day, we want to cheer for someone we want our daughters to marry. And Dez just doesn’t deliver. He may be able to catch a football, but lately, he can’t catch a hint. Owners and managers and coaches are only willing to put up with so much. So let this be another lesson for every and all other “characters” out there. Character still counts.

You can’t have it both ways. At the end of the day, careless, callous and reckless, abandoned living gets you nowhere fast.  The end of the line for loud mouth, undisciplined, show-boat behemoth players (and people) who can think no farther than their last antic or antagonistic tweet is a life of regret.  The sad part of the story is that Dez will land with some team somewhere but will go no farther than he’s gone before, unless he decides to mend his ways. 

It was said that the only person that can stop Dez Bryant, is Dez Bryant.  Because people, like owners and coaches, are only willing to put up with so much.

What’s Up With Sports in Philly? — Spring 2018 Edition

Philly Sports

The Philadelphia 76ers are in Fourth place, that’s fourth with a FOUR, in the Eastern Conference. Not eighth or seventh or even sixth. Fourth Place, just one half game behind the Cleveland Cavaliers.  Not only did they make the playoffs this year, they look to make a push past the first round.  Not too shabby, huh?  As Joel Embiid said, “Trust the Process!”

And of course the Eagles just won the Super Bowl. And the Phillies are adding to their roster like there’s no tomorrow. “Win Now!” right! And the Flyers are in the running for a wild card berth in the NHL playoffs. So if you’re a Philly fan, what’s not to like?

As wonderful and as astonishing as the Eagles Super Bowl win was, the Sixers are looking better and better with every successive win as they try to keep up with their football brothers in the miracle winning season category. How far can the Sixers go in the post season? Just how good are these guys, namely Embiid, Simmons and now Markelle Fultz? Did I mention that Fultz is back? Whoa Baby!

I am a student of winning teams. After years of study, I have concluded that what highly successful team possess that marginally productive teams lack is chemistry. The  Eagles definitely had it. And we see where that got them, right? And the Sixers have it too. They absolutely have “IT”.

And so the conclusion is this; dare we say that sports in Philly is trending the right way?

Alex Smith Instead Of Kirk Cousins? Seriously?

Wow. Look at that pic. Two of the most recent Washington Redskins’ quarterbacks who are long gone or are about ready to go. Too bad.

The Washington Redskins just signed Alex Smith. Well, they signed him last week but it wasn’t important enough to pull me away from all of the Super Bowl hype. Now that my Philadelphia Eagles have won the Big One and are World Champions (man that sounds so good!) we can turn our attention to other more trivial NFL matters. Like where Kirk Cousins will be playing next year.

First of all, what was Andy Reid thinking? Are they mad at Smith for tanking this season after starting out so well? After all, the Chiefs started off 5-0, and their first two wins were against, wait for it, the Patriots and the Eagles! So what happened? What had happened was . . . Anyway, the Chiefs cooled off and couldn’t sustain their fast start and got booted from the playoffs in the wildcard round.

Which brings us to Smith’s sudden and unexpected departure from KC and his coming to DC. Statistically speaking, Kirk Cousins is better than Alex Smith. And he’s younger. So remind me again why the Redskins don’t want Cousins? Oh yeah, we haven’t answered that question, and we don’t have an answer, and probably never will.

Oh well; so much for the Redskins getting better this offseason. That’s one less team in the NFC East my Eagles will have to worry about next year.

Heart Warming Super Bowl LII Stories

Nick Foles SI Cover

I read this great article first posted in Bleeding Green Nation and it’s too good to improve on so I reprint it here in it’s entirety.   Nation


The Eagles have cemented their legacy as Super Bowl champions. From underdogs to top dogs, the Eagles stand above the rest of the NFL, but throughout and after the journey there have been many different storylines that made the win that much sweeter for the fans and the organization.

Brent Celek wins a Super Bowl

The longest tenured Eagle, Brent Celek was a part of the Eagles’ run to the NFC Championship game in 2008. It seems like every year since 2013 he’s been a candidate to be cut, but every coach to come through Philadelphia has loved his work ethic and what he brings to the team. Used primarily as a sixth offensive lineman in recent years, Celek has never wavered, providing veteran leadership and doing whatever has been asked of him. After 12 years, the patience and perseverance has paid off.

Nick Foles

Once considered the franchise savior, Nick Foles’ journey has been one for the ages. After convincing the Eagles’ fanbase to buy in to the “27-2” season, Foles struggled in 2014 before breaking his collarbone two months into the season, ending his first tenure with the Eagles. Fast-forward two years, Foles had contemplated retirement after a rough stint with the St. Louis Rams. Foles ultimately decided against retiring, and spent the 2016 season backing up Alex Smith in Kansas City. After becoming a free agent in 2017, the Eagles brought Foles back and he met the expectations that Eagles fans had of him after the 2013 season.

Jon Dorenbos gets a ring

Very rarely does a long snapper receive the sort of recognition and fanfare that former Eagles long snapper Jon Dorenbos has. Dorenbos is well known for his magic tricks that he has displayed on competition programs, as well as his appearances on Ellen. After he was traded to the Saints during training camp, it was revealed that Dorenbos had a life-threatening heart issue that required immediate surgery. The trade was eventually voided and Dorenbos had surgery. Dorenbos played for the Eagles from 2006-2016, and for his contributions, Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie has told him that he’ll be rewarded with a ring.

Jerome Brown

Former Eagles great Jerome Brown was one of the best defensive tackles in the NFL in the late-80s, early-90s. He was a part of the famed Eagles defensive line that terrorized offenses and according to Football Outsiders, the greatest defense in NFL history, the 1991 Eagles. After an accident in the 1992 offseason, Brown’s life was lost, leaving a hole in the hearts of Eagles and football fans alike. Brown’s birthday was Feb. 4, coincidentally the same day the Eagles won their first Super Bowl.

Nelson Agholor

A year ago many Eagles fans and analysts — myself included — believed Agholor was a bust and the team would be better off without him. We all couldn’t have been more wrong. Agholor had the bounce-back season of a lifetime and made numerous big plays and tough catches to keep drives alive in the Super Bowl. Credit to Agholor for turning his career completely around and becoming somebody that Eagles fans now have full confidence in.

Howie Roseman

The Eagles’ GM was an afterthought for a year when Chip Kelly took control of the team in 2015. After returning from the shadows in 2016, Roseman immediately turned the franchise around by resetting the roster, ridding the Eagles of the disastrous contract Kelly handed out. Roseman’s biggest impact may have been learning from the organization’s 2011 free agent acquisition’s, bringing in the right players at the right positions in 2017.

Brandon Graham

Brandon Graham hasn’t had to hear he’s not Earl Thomas for a few seasons, but if by chance he was still hearing it, those days are gone. Graham played through an injury in the second half of the Super Bowl and made the play of the game on defense when he strip-sacked Tom Brady deep in Patriots territory with under three minutes to go. From a guy that fans wouldn’t have thought twice about letting him sign with the Giants to Super Bowl hero.