Why Philly Fans Booed Roger Goodell

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I’m from Philly (remember?) Anyway, I absolutely, positively and unequivocally understand why the Philly fans booed Roger Goodell during the 2017 NFL Draft, held on the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum. And they didn’t just boo him, they booed the MESS out of him, or at least they tried.

And if you don’t understand, keep reading.

If an effort to help the Commissioner avoid the inevitable in-draft boo birds, the NFL called on a Philly fan favorite, and that didn’t even work. In fact, it failed miserably.  

Here’s how one sports writer saw it:

“Roger Goodell brought former Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski to the podium in Philadelphia to start round two. The crowd, which seemed to be nearly as large as it was on Thursday night, didn’t pull back in the face of the bespectacled human shield. Instead, they continued to relentlessly boo Goodell.

Things changed dramatically when Goodell turned the floor over to Jaworski, who was cheered loudly and who had the kind of presence and energy that gets a crowd going. He said that people of Philadelphia will eventually embrace those who do the right thing, and he expressed confidence that the City of Brotherly Love will eventually show something other than hatred for Goodell.

And then Goodell came back to the podium, and the booing instantly became as loud as ever. (Reportedly, Goodell makes $35 Million per year. That’s 35 MILLION dollars. Do you know how far 35 million can go?  I can’t even imagine how much good will is being lost on that one executive, who has made some questionable and disputable decisions in his tenure.)

Goodell can ignore the noise as much as he wants, but the owners surely don’t like it. Efforts to laugh it off or playfully welcome more booing have legitimized it. The only way to end it is to keep the Commissioner out of sight, and to have people who will be embraced by the locals call out the picks.

With the draft going on the road, the folks calling the picks should be local, starting with a well-known favorite son (like, for the first round in Philly, Sylvester Stallone) and then incorporating others, like Jaworski, Brian Dawkins, Brian Westbrook, etc., etc.”  It’s a great idea. (by  Mike Florio on April 28, 2017) http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2017/04/28/ron-jaworski-cant-get-the-fans-to-stop-booing-roger-goodell/

So why did Goodell get booed in Philly?

This generation can’t be fooled or phased; they can smell false and fake and two-faced and phony folks a mile away. But if you’re honest and frank and genuine and true, God, and eventually people, will validate you. This generation is craving genuine, meaningful, honest-to-goodness truth.  And that only comes from above.

So, be real. Be legitimate.  Be bona fide. Then everyone will realize and recognize your authenticity.

 But if you’re not, . . .

Aaron Hernandez: Triumph and Tragedy

Aaron HernandezTalk about a modern day, made for reality TV soap opera. This just in: another athlete has given us yet another harrowing, heartbreaking homily on the hazards of mixing giftedness with recklessness. The dramatic, meteoric rise of the footfall career of Aaron Hernandez met an equally speedy fall and sudden end.

In actuality, the life and death of Aaron Hernandez was a sad, sobering, shocking yarn full of knots and kinks leading to a tattered and torn, threadbare end. The life of this famous yet infamous professional football player was both sewn tightly and frayed badly, full of high drama and sordid saga that finally all unraveled in a lonely Massachusetts jail cell.

Aaron Josef Hernandez, the 27 year old, 6’-1’’, 245 pound, once and future rising New England Patriots star tight end took his own life this past week. It’s as sad a tale that has ever been told. His is a rags to riches back to rags story that seems like it didn’t have to be. It’s so sad and seemingly so senseless.

Hernandez worked his way up to the top of the sports world. He was NFL divinity; he played in a Super Bowl and played on the best team in the league and was an All Pro selection. But he also simultaneously wormed his way down to the bottom of the general population of humanity; Hernandez was convicted of murder and was serving a life sentence at the time of his death.

Hernandez grew up on the “other side of the tracks” and rose to prominence seemingly overnight. Hernandez attended Bristol Central High School and played as a wide receiver until becoming a tight end, and also played defensive end. As a senior, he was Connecticut’s Gatorade Football Player of the Year.

And his star kept rising.

Hernandez caught passes from Tim Tebow when he played college football at the University of Florida. He was a member of the 2008 BCS National Championship team and was voted a first-team All-American. He was widely recognized as a key contributor to that team’s national championship success. Hernandez then became the first Gator to win the John Mackey Award, given annually to the NCAA’s best tight end.

And his star kept rising.

Hernandez was drafted by the NFL’s New England Patriots as the 15th pick in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft even though he was dogged by allegations of failed drug tests. Still, with future Hall of Famer Tom Brady throwing to him, Hernandez shined for New England. He played on the 2011 Super Bowl team that lost to the New York Giants 21-17. On August 27, 2012, the Patriots signed Hernandez to a five-year, $40 million contract extension, running through 2018. The $12.5 million signing bonus was the largest ever given to an NFL tight end.

But it all began to unravel when he was released by the Patriots in June 2013 immediately after his arrest for the murder of Odin Lloyd. We may never know the whole story, but what was once a bright triumph turned into a dark tragedy.

Sports are like life and life is like sports. There are wins and losses and victories and defeats and ups and downs and twists and turns all the way from start to finish. Aaron Hernandez is just another example of how a good run can all come crashing down with a bad decision here and a misstep there. In all, Hernandez spent more time in prison than on the field with the Patriots. In spite of the tragedy, in life and in death, Hernandez taught us that we don’t have to have a dead end.

Reports say that Hernandez etched John 3:16 on his forehead before taking his life. John 3:16, the hallmark scripture of our faith, coupled with the Easter message, proves that God loves us and is concerned about us. Jesus conquered death so that we don’t have to use death as an out or an option. We may fall but we don’t have to fail or give in or give up if we put our trust in Him.

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/aaron-hernandez-ex-nfl-star-kills-prison-cell-article-1.3073294

What’s Next For RGIII? — Plan B

RGII Released

What a sad day for RGIII fans, worldwide. Anywhere and everywhere there are fans of this Heisman Trophy winner, they’re all taking time to pout and pine and ache and anguish over this once prime and prized QB who tore it up at Baylor, had one good year in the NFL with the Redskins, but hasn’t been able to find his way since.

Here’s the black and white, bottom line:

Robert Griffin III will be a free agent again, as the Cleveland Browns released the injury-plagued quarterback on Friday. Too bad, so sad.

The Browns gave Griffin a chance to revive his career after he was released by the Washington Redskins following the 2015 season. Cleveland named him the Week 1 starter in 2016, and he struggled in a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Late in that game, Griffin broke the coracoid process in his left collarbone, an injury that sidelined him for 11 games. Though he played better in four games at the end of the season, he admitted his injury had not fully healed.

The Browns’ move comes after they traded with the Houston Texans for quarterback Brock Osweiler on Thursday, though league sources have told ESPN that Cleveland is likely to trade or release Osweiler before the 2017 season. But let’s get back to RGIII.

I’ve been a faithful fan of Robert Griffin III from the start. I’ve pulled for him and prayed for him and cheered for him and jeered at him, but it’s all because I like him. I do. Even in his arrogance and overconfidence (“I’m the best QB in the NFL” — really?),  I’ve tried to be there for him (like I could actually help him, right?) But I did try. And he did too. From where I sit, I believe he stood a chance. Unfortunately, he had hope but he did not have the help that he really needed. And so it appears that it just wasn’t meant to be.

RGIII’s story is a narrative reminiscent of another Heisman trophy winner who just couldn’t make it in the pros: Tim Tebow. Their stories are eerily similar.  They were great standup, standout QB’s in college, but this pro thing just didn’t seem to fit. Why didn’t they succeed as we – and they- had hoped and dreamed they would? Why do teams love them and then loath them? And why do we delight ourselves in their rise and yet disassociate ourselves with their fall?

It sounds like life. You have to believe, in God first, and then in yourself, regardless of who doesn’t. Now Tebow is trying out for the New York Mets. Seriously. Maybe RGIII can reinvent himself and find a path to his ultimate purpose. And the same goes for us when Plan A hits a snag and blows a tire or fizzles out or just doesn’t work out.

Because you always need a Plan B.

The Greatest Comeback in Super Bowl History

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What Happened to Atlanta?

What happened to Atlanta? Tom Brady happened to Atlanta, that’s what.

What happened? Thirty-One unanswered points happened. Overtime happened. And most of all, momentum happened. Atlanta was winning by double digits, but Atlanta lost momentum as they gave the game away. They had the Patriots down 21-3 at the half and 28-9 after three quarters. But it didn’t matter after they lost momentum.

Once Atlanta lost momentum, you had that sinking feeling that they were going to lose the game. The Atlanta Falcons and the NFL’s newly crowned MVP Matt Ryan LOST an epic Super Bowl to the greatest franchise in the NFL, simply because they lost momentum.

Brady and the Patriots won 34-28, in OT, and in the second half and in the extra period, the Pats outscored and outplayed the Falcons 31-0. MAN! Said Brady, “We all brought each other back. We never thought we were out of it.” How’s that for confidence?

Joe Buck and Troy Aikman called the game for Fox Sports.  After it was all over, they said that New England redefined the word Momentum. Atlanta had the game in the bag, up nineteen points, 28-9,  after three. But Lady Gaga laid a mojo on the Dirty Birds. Ryan and the Falcons went into the locker room and didn’t score enough again after Lady Gaga dove into NRG Stadium and danced away the hopes and dreams of the Falcons faithful. Those rooting for Atlanta watched in horror as Brady did his thing and came back to win a thrilling, exhilarating, breathtaking Super Bowl.

It was the greatest of comebacks. It was the grandest of turnarounds. And it’s everything every Brady hater had hoped not to see. You’ve gotta’ be so sorry for Matt Ryan, and you’ve gotta’ be so enthralled by Tom Brady. Like him or lump him, you gotta’ respect him.

And so the lesson is clear: don’t lose momentum. Do all you can to steal it and snatch it and grab it and get it anyway you can. But most of all, when you have it, keep it. Because a change in momentum is all you need to turn the tide and stem the flood. And momentum will carry you over and past and through anything; past a huge deficit and past a hot quarterback and past a great defense.

And past an almost sure loss to an even greater and ultimate win.

So never give up. Brady didn’t. And Brady did it. He overcame and overpowered and overawed the Football world. He’s a five-time Super Bowl winner and a four time MVP.

Well done, Tom Brady.

Lady Gaga?

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Lady Gaga?
I’m old. I don’t listen to contemporary music and I don’t know a thing Lady Gaga sings. Yet she’s doing the halftime show for Super Bowl LI. Go figure. So let me know if I should watch, because I’ll probably be on a nacho run or a hot wings break.

I’m just saying.

Don’t Bet Against Brady

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I’m not a Tom Brady fan. I’m not. And I don’t like the New England Patriots. I don’t. But something tells me to tell you not to bet against Brady and the Pats in Super Bowl LI. Don’t do it. As much as I don’t want them to win, I think they just might pull off and turn in another super, Super Bowl.

 Some say that sports and life are polar opposites. In fact, sports and life are actually opposite sides of the same coin.  In both sports and life, there are some things that you thought would never happen and yet happen they do. In sports and in life, there are the improbable, implausible, almost impossible occurrences and incidents that no one, and I mean no one, could even dream up in a thousand years and yet “Voila!” – they appear and emerge and transpire right in before our very eyes.

 Such is the case with Tom Brady. He is headed for yet another Super Bowl, after a season of suspension and turmoil, and perhaps the only thing that stands between him and another Super Bowl ring is a favorable coin flip or two.

 This year, Matt Ryan may be the sentimental favorite. But Brady is still Brady. He’s still coached by Belichick and he is the only member of the Patriots roster left from the 2005 Super Bowl Team. If there’s one constant in the Patriots puzzle, it’s Brady.

“Since the first week of the season, it has seemed inevitable that it would end this way, with Tom Brady in his seventh Super Bowl and two years of drama finally winding down to one final scene.

 From the moment the New England Patriots beat the Arizona Cardinals in the one game they seemed most likely to lose without Brady — on the road, in prime time, in the first start of Jimmy Garoppolo’s career — the trajectory of the Patriots’ season was set. That first month certified Bill Belichick’s ability to adapt to his circumstances, without Brady and then, incredibly, without Garoppolo, too, shutting out the Houston Texans with rookie third-stringer Jacoby Brissett under center.

But everything after — the 13-1 record since Brady came off his suspension, the nearly flawless regular-season statistics, the relentlessness of the Patriots’ offense even after Rob Gronkowski was hurt — was testament to Brady’s own ability to compartmentalize and carry on.” By Judy Battist, NFL Media reporter

Sports science stipulates cohesion and consistency and comrade on any and every team. And yet, with all of the shuffling and shifting, the one constant with the Brady Bunch is, you guessed it, Brady. The Patriot Way is the Brady Way. Brady has won more than most. So it’s difficult, nay pert near impossible, to bet against Brady. So don’t do it. Don’t bet against Brady. Just don’t do it. You’ll thank me later.

Brady, the University of Michigan stud, was drafted by the Patriots in the sixth round (THE SIXTH ROUND!) of the 2000 NFL draft. In Brady’s 13 full seasons as a starter (he missed nearly all of 2008 with a torn ACL), the Patriots have earned six trips to the Super Bowl, winning four. Brady has won three Super Bowl MVP awards, two league MVP awards (2007, 2010), has been selected to eleven Pro Bowls, and has led the Patriots to more division titles than any other quarterback in NFL history, with thirteen. Brady is fifth on the all-time list for career passing yards and third for career touchdown passes. His career postseason record is 22–8; his playoff win total is the most in NFL history. Unbelievable.

 Some players aren’t pegged or don’t seem to have the potential to pan out and prosper. Yet someway somehow, they seemingly, consistently and continuously find a way to win. We might not like them but we sure do respect them. They give us patterns and paradigms to follow. Whatever happens, and in spite of who comes and despite who goes, there stand players like Tom Brady, like a stone wall. He’s endured derision and disdain from everyone from Roger Goodell to me in this blog. But like the Bible says, Brady is steadfast and unmovable.

 So, like him or lump him, just don’t bet against him.

Signing Day: Penn State and Brailyn Franklin

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Brailyn Franklin is going to play for Penn State!

Brailyn is a fine young man. He “picked” Penn State over Maryland, Temple, Virginia Tech, and Syracuse on Signing Day. He attends church in Manassas, Virginia where his pastor, Bishop Wesley Cherry, Sr. preaches and teaches and lives and breathes faith. And watching him from a distance, it is clear that Brailyn is a product of his family’s and his church’s faith. His proud parents are humbled by the prospect that their son was recruited by a Big 10 Power school, and are moved even more by how Heaven is elevating Brailyn.

Sometimes faith is mixed with “pinch me, I must be dreaming” amazement at how God has ordered and orchestrated the pieces of our lives to come and fit together perfectly. Brailyn’s athletic and emotional development is impressive. Add to it his maturation and progression and you get the excitement of Signing Day that is only surpassed by his unlimited potential.

Brailyn Franklin did everything for Battlefield (Va.) High School: rush the passer at defensive tackle, return kicks, run the wildcat, force fumbles, split out wide and built a stadium. Alright, he didn’t build a stadium. But he did build a solid relationship with Penn State defensive coordinator Brent Pry, and that was key in leading Franklin north to Happy Valley.

Here’s what the website FANSIDED said about Brailyn signing with Penn State:

Thin at linebacker, the Nittany Lions got an important piece of the puzzle on National Signing Day when linebacker Brailyn Franklin officially signed with Penn State. Franklin committed to the Nittany Lions back in August and followed through with that promise on National Signing Day.

Listed by many recruiting services as an athlete, Franklin will start at Penn State as a linebacker. He mainly played on the defensive line in high school in Virginia, but at 200 pounds, he’s better suited to be a linebacker in college. He’s a raw talent who would benefit greatly from an extra year to both develop his skills and build some size. He could also move to the defensive backfield if needed.

Franklin’s versatility and speed make him a very intriguing prospect and Franklin could be a key addition to the defense. http://victorybellrings.com/2017/02/01/penn-state-football-20017-recruit-profile-lb-brailyn-franklin/

Franklin intends to major in sports psychology, a mission he’ll begin as soon as his Haymarket, Va., Battlefield High team finishes its 2016 season. “What I’m hoping to accomplish on the field this season is to actually get to the championship, and making sure that I finish out the season healthy so I can prepare for college,” Franklin said.

Congratulations Brailyn and welcome to Penn State!