Friday’s List of 13: Nobody asked me, but…….

13) NFL QB’s, how many TD passes they’ve thrown to 1st-round draft picks in their careers:
293— Peyton Manning
135— Eli Manning
127— Brett Favre
105— Tom Brady
104— Drew Brees
84— Dan Marino
1— Aaron Rodgers

12) Redskins’ QB Alex Smith broke his leg during the 2018 season, so a year and a half ago; since then, he’s had 17 surgeries on that leg. ESPN has a 30/30 on Smith’s health Friday night. Last I heard, he is going to try and play again.

11) Wake Forest signed Steve Forbes as its new basketball coach; Forbes were 103-43 as coach at East Tennessee State— he is a former assistant to Bruce Pearl at Tennessee.

10) Jameis Winston signed on with the Saints as a backup QB; this is supposed to be Drew Brees’ last year as a player, so Winston gets a head start on trying to be his replacement.

Winston has had LASIX surgery (seriously) recently, which he says has been a big help.

9) Dennis Rodman had seven games in his NBA career where he grabbed 20+ rebounds, but didn’t score a point in that game. Thats the most in NBA history.

Next highest on that list? Marcus Camby, with two such games.

8) Someone online posted draft grades (A-F) of 13 draft analysts, then averaged them all out, and came out with a GPA, like you’d have in college.
3.92— Minnesota
3.83— Dallas
3.79— Baltimore
3.75— Arizona
3.72— Cincinnati

7) Lowest five on that same rating system:
1.31— Green Bay
2.07— Houston
2.18— Seattle
2.32— Las Vegas
2.35— Philadelphia

6) Cincinnati Bengals released QB Andy Dalton, who started for them for nine years. Will Dalton get a contract somewhere? He and Cam Newton are free agents.

5) Bengals had the first pick in every round of last week’s draft, the third time they’ve had that, which isn’t good. No other team has ever had that more than once.

4) Joe Burrow’s contract with Cincinnati: 4-year deal worth $36,190,137, with a $23,880,100 signing bonus.

3) 2021 NFL Draft was pushed back a week, to April 29-May 1; weather in Cleveland can be dicey at this time of year.

2) 144 college football players declared early for this year’s NFL Draft; 44 of them (30.6%) didn’t get drafted.

1) When baseball starts up again, and it is beginning to sound like it will in late June, I’m going to have to re-boot my brain. Completely forgot than on March 10, I traded Manny Machado for Kris Bryant, in a 5-player deal in our fantasy league. Seems like three years ago.

Thursday’s Den: NFC teams’ playoff trends……

Cardinals:
— 6-8 in playoffs in Super Bowl era; three of the wins were in ’08.
— Seven of the eight losses were by 11+ points; they lost 27-23 to Steelers in ’08 Super Bowl.
— won all four of their home playoff games.
— Haven’t made the playoffs since 2015.

Falcons:
— 10-14 in playoffs; 6-2 at home. 4-10 on road.
— Lost ’98 Super Bowl 34-19 vs Denver/Elway
— Lost ’16 Super Bowl 34-28 to New England/Brady
— Missed playoffs the last two seasons.

Panthers:
— 9-8 in playoffs; 5-2 at home, 4-4 on road.
— Lost ’03 Super Bowl 32-29 to New England/Brady
— Lost ’15 Super Bowl 24-10 to Denver/Manning
— Missed playoffs the last two seasons.

Bears:
— Haven’t played a road playoff game since 1994
— Played only one playoff game the last nine years.
— 11-14 in playoffs; 7-8 at home, 3-5 on road.
— Outscored opponents 91-10 in their three playoff wins in ’85.

Cowboys:
— Since 1998, they’re 3-9 in playoff games.
— Lost last eight road playoff games.
— Last road playoff win: 1992, 30-20 at San Francisco.
— Won 17 of last 21 home playoff games.

Lions:
— Won three titles in 50’s, before Super Bowl existed.
— In Super Bowl era (54 years), they’re 1-12 in playoff games.
— Last home playoff game was in 1993.
— Last playoff win: 1991, 38-6 over Dallas

Packers:
— Bart Starr: 9-1 in playoffs (won last 9)
— Brett Favre: 12-10
— Aaron Rodgers: 10-8
— Everyone else: 1-2
— Last made Super Bowl in 2010
— 6-5 in last 11 home playoff games.

Rams:
— 1-3 in Super Bowls; lead changed hands in 4th quarter all four games.
— Missed playoffs 12 years in row before Sean McVay came to LA.
— Missed playoffs nine years in row before Kurt Warner became the QB.
— 18-22 in playoffs: 9-6 at home, 8-13 on road.

Vikings:
— 0-4 in Super Bowls; last one was after 1976 season.
— 5-6 in last 11 home playoff games.
— Made playoffs three of last five years.
— Last 16 years, have had 11 different #1 quarterbacks.

Saints:
— Last three years, got KO’d from playoffs on last play of game.
— Since 2010, are 4-6 in playoff games.
— Won seven of last nine home playoff games.
— Didn’t get their first playoff win until 2000.

Giants:
— Eli Manning was 8-4 in playoffs: 1-2 home, 5-2 road, 2-0 Super Bowl
— Made playoffs twice in last 11 years
— Won five of last six road playoff games.
— Haven’t made playoffs since 2016.

Eagles:
— Won NFL title in 1960; didn’t make playoffs again until ’78.
— 13-8 in home playoff games, 5-12 on road.
— Since ’78, longest playoff drought is only six years.
— Lost two of three Super Bowl appearances.

49ers:
— Won five Super Bowls from 1981-94.
— 12-9 in playoffs since ‘94, 0-2 in Super Bowls.
— Won 21 of last 27 home playoff games.
— Kyle Shanahan was OC in Atlanta when they blew a 28-3 lead in the Super Bowl; his team blew a 20-10 4th quarter lead in LY’s Super Bowl.

Seahawks:
— 9-6 in playoffs with Russell Wilson
— Were 8-11 in playoffs before Wilson got there.
— Made playoffs seven of last eight years.
— From 1985-2004, were 0-5 in playoff games.

Buccaneers:
— Have six playoff wins in their history.
— Haven’t made playoffs since 2007.
— 0-2 in playoffs since winning ’02 Super Bowl.
— Lost 9-0/11-6 in two NFC title games against the Rams.

Redskins:
— Won three Super Bowls from 1982-91, with three different QB’s.
— Since then, they’re 2-5 in playoff games.
— Last playoff win was after 2005 season.
— 12-3 at home, 4-9 in road playoff games, but lost last two at home. 

Wednesday’s Den: Playoff trends for AFC teams

Ravens:
— Since moving from Cleveland, Ravens are 15-10 in the playoffs.
— In their two Super Bowl years, only two of their eight playoff wins were at home.
— Last playoff win was in 2014.
— Ravens are only 3-4 in home playoff games.

Bills:
— Lost their last six playoff games.
— Won AFC four years in row (1990-93); 7 of their 9 playoff wins were at home.
— Their last playoff win? 37-22 over Miami, in ’95.

Bengals:
— 5-14 all-time in playoff games, 0-7 on road.
— Lost two Super Bowls, both to 49ers; 26-21/20-16
— Are 0-12 in playoff games when they score less than 21 points.
— Last playoff win was in 1990.

Browns:
— Lost 36-33 at Pittsburgh in 2002, their only playoff game since they started up the franchise again. Old Browns are now the Ravens.
— Browns led 17-7 at half behind QB Kelly Holcomb, who threw for 429 yards.
— Butch Davis was Cleveland’s coach; Tommy Maddox was Pitt’s QB.

Broncos:
— Elway was 14-7 in playoffs: Manning 5-3 with Denver
— Won 17 of 22 home playoff games.
— Lost last four road playoff games.
— haven’t been in playoffs since 2015.

Texans:
— Are 4-6 in playoffs; 4-2 at home, 0-4 on road.
— All four road losses were 7+ points.
— Made playoffs four of last five years.

Colts:
— Won two Super Bowls, 36 years apart.
— From 1972-94, went 0-4 in playoff games.
— Manning was 9-10 in playoff games, 6-4 at home.
— Luck was 4-4 in playoff games, 2-0 at home.

Jaguars:
— 7-7 in playoff games, 3-1 at home.
— Only home loss was AFC title game in 1999.
— Have made playoffs only once since 2007.

Chiefs:
— Won two Super Bowls, 50 years apart.
— From 1994-2017, were 0-7 in playoff games.
— Since 1970, are 2-8 in road playoff games.
— Scored 39 ppg in three playoff wins last year.

Raiders:
— Are 0-1 in playoff games since losing Super Bowl 17 years ago.
— From 1966-83, went 19-10 in playoff games.
— Since 1984, they’re 6-9 in playoff games.
— Their last road playoff win? 1980, in San Diego.

Chargers:
— Haven’t played a home playoff game since 2009.
— 9-4 in first playoff game of a season.
— 11-13 overall in playoffs: 5-5 at home, 6-7 on road.
— Lost only Super Bowl 49-26 to 49ers in 1994

Dolphins:
— Since 2001, Miami is 0-3 in playoff games.
— Their last Super Bowl was 1984, Dan Marino’s second season.
— Were outscored 101-24 in last four playoff games.
— Won consecutive Super Bowls, in 1972-73.

Patriots:
— 6-5 in Super Bowls, 6-3 under Belichick
— 30-11 in playoffs with Brady, 4-4 in true road games.
— 24 of 32 non-Super Bowl playoff games with Brady were played in Foxboro.
— Won 20 of last 24 home playoff games.

Jets:
— Were last in playoffs in 2010.
— Beat Colts 41-0 in last home playoff game, in 2002. 
— Their last ten playoff games were all on the road.
— Overall, are 4-3 in home playoff games, 7-10 on road.

Steelers:
— Won four Super Bowls in six years in the 70’s.
— Three different head coaches have won Super Bowl with Steelers.
— Won five of their last six home playoff games.
— 20-10 in first playoff game of a season.

Titans:
— Won first two AFL titles, when they were the Houston Oilers.
— Lost 40-7/56-7 to Oakland in first two playoff games of Super Bowl era.
— Haven’t played a home playoff game since 2008.
— Won five of last nine road playoff games. 

Tuesday’s Den: Nobody asked me, but…….

13) On April 4, 1990, Phoenix Suns won 119-115 in OT at home vs Utah; one of the strangest boxscores I’ve ever seen.

Suns were 61-80 on the foul line (61 for freakin’ 80!!!!); four guys on the Jazz fouled out, two others had five fouls, three others had four. Utah was 29-41. Kevin Johnson was 23-24 on the foul line, Tom Chambers was 17-22, Karl Malone 17-21.

Jazz committed 52 fouls, Phoenix 32. Jerry Sloan had to be really excited about this one.

Teams were a combined 6-27 behind the arc; game sure has changed a lot.

12) I mentioned during the NFL Draft Thursday night how Jerry Jones’ living room looked like a waiting room in a funeral parlor. Well, it turns out that Jerry was watching the draft from his $250M luxury yacht. Bigger than the SS Minnow for sure; not sure if it is bigger than The Love Boat.

11) Carolina Panthers made seven draft picks last week; all defensive players.

10) 20 undrafted free agents have been voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

9) Saturday Night Live had Brad Pitt as Dr Fauci during Saturday night’s show; was a pretty good 3-minute segment.

8) There are rumors that Alex Rodriguez/Jennifer Lopez are trying to buy the Mets; almost anyone, and I do mean ALMOST anyone, would be better than the Wilpons.

7) 54% of snaps taken by Green Bay Packer WR’s last year were taken by undrafted players, so guess it makes sense that Green Bay didn’t draft a WR last week, despite it being a draft rich in WR’s— 38 of them were taken in seven rounds.

6) Was fun seeing some of the homes of NFL coaches/GM’s; the room Bears’ coach Matt Nagy was sitting in was covered wall-to-wall with paper, but they never showed what was on the walls, whether it was football stuff or his kid’s school assignments. Lot of paper, though.

5) Speaking of Nagy, Chicago QB Mitch Trubisky averaged 6.1 yards/pass attempt LY, the lowest among starters in the NFL, which may explain why Nick Foles is now a Bear.

4) Miami Dolphins’ last Pro Bowl QB? Dan Marino, in 1995.

3) Every time I log onto Twitter, one of the first things I see is an ad for Honey Nut Cheerios with Ellen DeGeneres; I’ve never had Honey Nut Cheerios, though I did like Cheerios when I was a kid, but why this ad so much? No big deal, was just wondering.

2) 2021 NFL Draft will be in Cleveland, where weather could be a factor; the ’22 Draft will be in Las Vegas, where it was supposed to be last week.

1) Long time ago, maybe 20 or so years ago, a guy I knew (we weren’t friends but were in same circle for a while) openly mocked me because I enjoy watching the NFL Draft.

Not sure what inspired him to share that with me, but like I’ve said here many times, part of what makes life so interesting is that different people like different stuff. I didn’t respond well to what he said, just mumbled something about it being fun for me.

I bring this up because respect/tolerance of other people is important. We all disagree on one thing or another, but as long as we do things that make us happy, who cares?

2 Lists for Monday: my friend Christy’s favorite movies…….

My friend Christy loves the movies; here are some of her favorites:

Phenomenon – A simple story of a simple man who became extraordinary but never lost sight of what was most important to his heart. He loved, he worked, he played as his heart dictated. Unpretentiously … Soundtrack!

Spitfire Grill- I need to rewatch this one. Near the top of my list because I remember it being a story of strong willed women that struck a cord. I was a young mother when I first saw it and realized how sheltered I was and that reality was beyond the lies I could tell myself about the world happening around me. I also remember the song “There is a Balm in Gillead” that’s sung.

Forrest Gump- Soundtrack! Real life inserted in historical times is/was so innovative… Especially like the story told thru the innocent, forgiving eyes of a love struck optimist. At some point throughout our lives, Forrest lives in each of us. There’s always hope and what Mama teaches!

Gone with the Wind- I saw this for the first time in the theater with my dad and sisters. The only time I can remember going to the movies without mom. My dad loved this movie. My mom loved Dr. Zhivago. I’ve watched both many times.

Remember the Titans- Awesome! Historic! Football! Soundtrack! Need I say more?

Close Encounters of the Third Kind – The first “alien” movie I remember seeing. Loved it!! I remember feeling overwhelmed with Richard Dreyfuss as he tried to explain his “obsession” with shaping mashed potatoes.

The Abyss- Discovery of a new world! Heart stopping adventures. Fantasy mixed with real science and real people … it was incredible to watch the underwater scenes. I was enthralled the first time I watched.

Lord of the Rings- The Hobbit was the first classic I had ever discussed in detail with my best friend in my freshman year in high school. We both loved it! A new world with new types of people who desired the same things, adventures we did. To change the world … Tolkien has always stuck with me.

Kate and Leopold – Time travel, love story, historical perspectives, Hugh Jackman …

Highlander-Immortality, to live thru history, see it and travel thru it.

Les Miserables- Story of hope that came to me when I lost my daughter and my marriage. Life was hard. Jean Valjean’s was harder. This classic brought me hope. Loved the Broadway music! 

Goonies- Adventure and treasure maps with friends!!! It is the quest! Family favorite!

What’s Eating Gilbert Grape- Hard choices in life to be made. I remember the way the family protected one another. Need to rewatch.

Beauty and the Beast – Always my favorite love story, fairy tale. From Phantom of the Opera to Beauty and the Beast the story that lies in the strength of a woman to love past the ugly darkness or walls that hide a man’s heart … to help fight his demons until he sees his worth.  Some consider futile. The journey isn’t for the weak … even the animated version.

Toy Story – Every child has a favorite toy and a world of imagination/dreams that’s built around it.

Monday’s List of 13: Answers to difficult trivia questions…..

13) Who was player-coach of the Detroit Pistons at age 24? He also pitched in 36 games for the Chicago White Sox.

Dave DeBusschere played 12 years in the NBA, was the missing link that made the Knicks a title team in 1969, 1973. 

12) Which TV personality was QB at Louisiana Tech just before Terry Bradshaw?

Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson was the starting QB at Louisiana Tech for two years, but didn’t play his senior year.

11) When baseball started divisional play in 1969, which four teams made the playoffs that first season?

Mets, Braves, Orioles, Twins. For some reason, Atlanta was in the NL West. 

10) Oakland A’s won three straight World Series, from 1972-74; Dick Williams managed the A’s in ’72-’73. Who was Oakland’s manager in ’74?

Alvin Dark managed the A’s in 1974-5, also in 1966-67. He won the NL title managing the San Francisco Giants in 1962.  

9) In 1994, Montreal Expos had the best record in the National League when the season ended because of a labor dispute. Who was manager of the Expos back then?

Felipe Alou managed the Expos from 1992-2001. 

8) Everyone knows the first Super Bowl was Packers-Chiefs, Lombardi against Hank Stram. Green Bay played Oakland in Super Bowl II; who coached the Raiders back then?

Jon Rauch went 35-10-1 in three years coaching the Raiders, winning AFL title in ’67, losing title game the next year. Then he left Oakland, went 7-20-1 in two years coaching Buffalo. 

7) What team did Wayne Gretzky play his last NHL game with?

Gretzky scored nine goals, had 53 assists in 70 games for the 1998-99 Rangers. 

6) Nick Saban coached two other college teams, other than LSU/Alabama; which two?

Saban went 9-2 in one year at Toledo, 34-24-1 in five years at Michigan State. 

5) Who scored the first 2-point conversion in the NFL, back in 1994?

Tom Tupa was a P/QB for the Browns in ‘94; he played in college at Ohio State. He started 13 games at QB for the Cardinals, punted for 12 years in the NFL. 

4) Who succeeded Jerry Tarkanian as basketball coach at UNLV?

Rollie Massimino coached two years at UNLV. 

3) Which NBA team drafted Bill Russell?

St Louis Hawks drafted Russell, immediately traded him to the Celtics for Cliff Hagan, Ed Macauley. 

2) Who was Michael Jordan’s first head coach in the NBA?

Kevin Loughery was 65-99 in two years coaching the Bulls; he won two ABA titles coaching the New York Nets. 

1) Other than Wrigley Feld, Fenway Park, what is the oldest ballpark in the major leagues? 

Dodger Stadium opened in 1962, making it the 3rd-oldest stadium in the majors. 

Sunday’s List of 13: Random thoughts with the draft over

13) Day 3 of the NFL Draft is where ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr’s expertise shines; I say this every year, but if every American did his job as well as Kiper does, we’d be a lot better off.

12) Redskins traded disgruntled OT Trent Williams to the 49ers for 3rd, 5th round picks. Longtime OT Joe Staley is expected to retire; Williams will step into his spot on the OL.

11) Texans/Lions had a deal in place for pick #90, but Detroit pulled out of the deal at the last minute; ESPN’s camera showed a frustrated Bill O’Brien yelling at someone across the room in his home- apparently that was why. Houston was trying to trade out of pick #90 and add more draft choices.

10) Texans/O’Brien gave OT Laremy Tunsil a 3-year, $66M contract this week, which means he makes $4M a year more than any offensive lineman ever.

9) Last year was the first time since 1971 that the Pittsburgh Steelers didn’t score 28+ points in any game.

8) Jets drafted FIU QB James Morgan to back up Sam Darnold; Morgan is actually older than Darnold. He is also the 10th QB the Jets drafted the last 15 years, most in the league.

7) Since 1967, Rams have drafted 22 players from UCLA, the most any team has drafted a player from any one college. Bengals/Ohio State (20) are next on the list.

6) 20 of the first 48 players drafted this year played college ball in the SEC.

5) Interesting thing about Eli Manning’s career; he went 8-4 in playoff games, but only one of those eight wins was at home. Five road wins, two Super Bowls.

4) 56% of Vikings players last year were guys that Minnesota drafted; thats the highest %age of any team in the NFL.

3) Philadelphia Eagles finished the draft with 14 WR’s on their roster, which seems excessive.

2) Tip of the cap to the NFL for pulling the draft off in unusual circumstances; it seemed to go really well. Unique setting at a time when lot of us were starved for entertainment.

Next on the agenda is a bigger problem; what to do about the 2020 schedule.

1) Happy 80th birthday to the great actor Al Pacino, who played Tony d’Amato, coach of the Miami Sharks in Any Given Sunday. One of the best actors ever. 

Saturday’s List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind…….

13) I’m reading Pat Riley’s book The Winner Within; he talks about Game 7 of the 1980 Finals, when the Lakers beat Philadelphia despite Kareem Adbul-Jabbar missing the game with a bad ankle. There wasn’t much subbing that day:

— Every Laker starter played 39:00+ (out of 48:00)
— Magic Johnson played 47:00
— The entire LA bench played 29:00; Mark Landsberger played 19 of those.

I’ve re-discovered reading books the last few weeks, a positive development.

12) Interesting reading Riley’s book at the same time the documentary about the Chicago Bulls is on ESPN every week; Riley posted his stages of team building, and the challenges they present for coaches.

The one that always stuck in my mind was “The Disease of Me” where after a team becomes successful, lot of people take the attitude that they’re THE REASON a team won, rather than A REASON why the team won. Stuff like that breaks teams apart.

11) Back in 1981, first round of NBA playoffs was a best-of-3 series, which is a great idea, makes for much more drama. But when the league became more popular, that went out the window so the league could have more playoff games, make more $$$. Too bad.

I think TV ratings for shorter series would be through the roof; it would make it more like the NCAA tournament, then their TV revenue would also go up, but no one asked me.

10) The people who did the Bulls’ documentary that is on ESPN interviewed 106 people; they were serious about who they put in the show- for instance, Bill Clinton was only in there because he lived in Arkansas while Scottie Pippen played at Central Arkansas and he saw Pippen play. Bob Costas was in there because he briefly broadcast Bulls games back then.

9) As far as coaches’ homes during the first night of the NFL Draft, Arizona Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury had the nicest house; floor to ceiling windows, nice big living room. Anthony Lynn, the Chargers’ coach, looked like he was working in a cramped kitchen. Not good.

8) Dallas Cowboys did several mock drafts, and in none of them did Oklahoma WR CeeDee Lamb fall to them with the 17th pick, so they had to be pretty happy.

7) Denver Broncos’ playoff history:
— John Elway at QB: 14-7
— Peyton Manning at QB: 5-3
— Anyone else at QB: 4-9

Their last playoff appearance was in 2015.

6) Indians manager Terry Francona is one of three head coaches/managers in the four major sports to coach 2+ teams for 7+ years each, and never finish with a losing season with either one.

The other two? Phil Jackson, Scotty Bowman

5) Watching the 2014 NFL Draft the other night, seeing Aaron Donald fall to the 13th pick for the Rams, and you realize what an inexact science drafting is. Millions of dollars gets put into research, interviews, etc, and the Rams got the best guy with the freakin’ 13th pick.

4) I don’t like the Olympics very much, usually never watch them, so it was fun to watch replays of old gold medal basketball games from previous Olympic Games this week.

I had no recollection of Rudy Tomjanovich coaching our Olympic basketball team the year the Olympics were in Australia. American team won, but they struggled at times; Gary Payton, Jason Kidd led the team, but Vin Baker was on an Olympic team? That surprised me.

3) Doug Collins was the analyst on those Olympic Games; we need Collins back on network TV, he might be the best NBA analyst I’ve ever heard, him or Hubie Brown. Collins goes to lot of Northwestern games now; his son Chris coaches the Wildcats.

2) Glad to see the Chargers put the uniform numbers back on the sides of their helmets; they had them like that in the 60’s/70’s. Chargers have nice uniforms.

1) Is it possible that Nick Saban has never sent an e-mail? I know he has a secretary, a wife, probably an administrative assistant, and 42 assistant coaches, but how in 2020 has someone who is in charge of a multi-million dollar industry never sent sent an e-mail?

Friday’s Den: Running diary of the first round of the NFL Draft

7:25: Hi, I’m setting up for what will be a running diary of the first round of the NFL Draft. We’ll see how this goes. I do think the unique nature of this draft, with everyone staying home, will be kind of cool. Also hope it Is the last time it happens this way.

Obvious fact #1 tonite: Roger Goodell’s basement is nicer than my living room.

8:00: Starting with ESPN, as opposed to NFL Network or ABC.

Michael Irvin has three Lombardi Trophies behind him in his house. He is the early leader for best home setup.

They show a deserted Las Vegas Blvd, in front of Caeser’s Palace, and it makes me sad. Such a busy, vibrant place, almost totally deserted right now. I look forward to being back out there as soon as it is safe to do that. 

8:05: Roger Goodell seems like a good guy, but if I made $30M a year, I’d be pleasant, too.

8:13: Dr Fauci makes an appearance. He was captain of his high school hoop team at Regis HS in Brooklyn, in 1958, which is before I was born. Good man, Dr Fauci; I look forward to the day he tells us it is safe to travel.

Please start the draft; make a pick, already. Bengals are on the clock.

8:25: Bengals take Joe Burrow, who was turned down by Nebraska multiple times.

Burrow wasn’t alive in 1990, last time the Bengals won a playoff game. This is the third year in a row a QB gets taken first overall; all three of those QB’s transferred in college.

LSU has six coaches in their football office; no social distancing there.

8:33: Washington Redskins take Chase Young a DE from Ohio State; he is wearing sunglasses in his living room.

HBO is remaking the old TV series Perry Mason, which I watched on re-runs when I was a little kid. It premieres June 21. The key is who will play Hamilton Berger, the lawyer who always lost to Perry Mason in the original series?

8:38: CB Jeff Okudah is picked by the Lions; the first three picks all played at Ohio State in 2017, before Burrow transferred to LSU.

In the Super Bowl era, which is 54 years, Lions are 1-12 in playoff games; 11 of those 13 games were on the road. Their last playoff win was in 1991.

 8:47: New Jersey Giants take Andrew Thomas, an OT from Georgia who was a drummer in high school. His high school coach played in the NFL, which has to help. Daniel Jeremiah of ESPN doesn’t like the pick very much; thought the Giants had better options.

I’m liking this TV format better than having everyone in a ballroom somewhere.

8:55: Miami Dolphins take QB Tua Tagovailoa, ending Josh Rosen’s tenure in Miami; Tua will be the first lefty QB in the NFL since Kellen Moore, who is now the Cowboys’ OC. Would expect Ryan Fitzpatrick to start this season, then hands the reins over to the kid.

When the Dolphins passed on Drew Brees in 2006, he had already played four years in the NFL, 58 starts. Big difference between that and a kid who got hurt a lot in college, especially with the league going to 17 games, starting next season.

Boomer Esiason’s 247 TD passes are the most-ever by a lefty QB in the NFL. 

9:02: Chargers take QB Justin Herbert, who started out his college career as Oregon’s 6th-string QB, so three of the first six picks in the draft are quarterbacks. He’ll sit behind Tyrod Taylor for a while, which will help his development.

Oregon had a very experienced offensive line LY; how will he do under more pressure?

9:10: Carolina takes Derrick Brown, a DT from Auburn. He wants to be a lobbyist when he is done playing ball. This is Matt Rhule’s first draft pick in Carolina; he wants to make sure the Panthers can stop the run.

9:14: Arizona Cardinals take the versatile Isaiah Simmons, who played five different positions on defense at Clemson.

9:20: Jacksonville takes CJ Henderson, a CB from Florida who is strong in coverage but needs work on his tackling. What the Jaguars really need is a GM or coach who can persuade their players to stay in Jacksonville, instead of asking to be traded all the time.

9:26: Cleveland takes Jedrick Wills, a tackle from Alabama who is the 30th Crimson Tide player taken in the first round in the Saban era.

Ten draft picks; no WR’s taken yet, kind of surprising.

9:35: Jets take OT Mekhi Becton, a tackle from Louisville; he is 6-7, 364 pounds and played basketball in high school- he can run. ESPN showed as many of his basketball highlights as his football highlights- they also showed him pushing a pickup truck down the street.

9:40: Las Vegas Raiders take Henry Ruggs, a WR from Alabama who didn’t look all that happy when they showed him in his house. Ruggs caught 98 passes in college, 24 for TD’s . Ruggs’ mom was a sprinter in high school, which doesn’t help Jon Gruden much.

Kid can dunk at 5-11; he isn’t such a great route runner yet- he is also a skilled kick returner.

9:45: Tom Brady made a trade; Bucs move up a slot to #13, take Tristan Wirfs, a tackle from Iowa. 49ers get a pick in exchange for this pick. Wirfs won state titles in wrestling and track in high school- he is very strong. He better be good, to protect his 43-year old QB.

9:58: 49ers dropped down a slot, take DT Javon Kinlaw from South Carolina who was homeless for a while as a kid, living in Washington DC. ESPN compared him to Richard Seymour. He played better against the better teams the Gamecocks played.

Coach’s and GM’s kids are now hanging around their dads to get  on TV. 

10:04: Denver takes WR Jerry Jeudy from Alabama; the 3rd Bama player taken tonite, the 32nd first round pick in the Saban era. Jeudy is a superior route runner.

10:12: Falcons take CB AJ Terrell from Clemson; Mel Kiper says he needs to tackle better, be coached more. I’m sure Dabo Swinney loved hearing that.

Atlanta owner Arthur Blank has to have a good home setup; he used to own freakin’ Home Depot. Plus he was wearing one of the Falcons’ new black jerseys.

10:19: Dallas Cowboys take WR CeeDee Lamb from Oklahoma, whose family relocated after Hurricane Katrina. They showed Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley’s living room, which is really nice. For some reason, he has two pairs of sneakers right by the TV. Anyway, Lamb is a very good WR; he had 62 receptions for 1,327 yards, scoring 14 TD’s LY.

Dallas hasn’t played in the NFC title game since 1995; I’m assuming Jerry Jones has a really, really nice house, but the room he’s in looks like a sitting room in a funeral parlor.

10:27: Miami Dolphins use the Steelers’ pick (for Minkah Fitzpatrick) to take OT Austin Jackson from USC, whose grandfather played five years for the Packers. He is still only 20 years old, so he may be something of a developmental project.

Last year, this kid donated bone marrow to his younger sister to save her life from a rare form of anemia, which is very excellent.

10:32: Raiders take Damon Arnette, a DB from Ohio State. This is Cris Carter’s son, the great WR from the Vikings. Arnette almost came out of school LY, but Carter told him he needed to come back for another year, to become a better player, and it paid off for him.

2022 NFL Draft will be in Las Vegas; it was supposed to be there this week, until Mother Nature intervened. Hotels can start jacking up their rates for that week now.

10:41: Jacksonville takes LB K’Lavon Chaisson from LSU, who didn’t play football until his junior year of high school- he was a basketball guy. Chaisson got his scholarship to LSU when he went to watch a friend work out, and someone suggested that he work out, too.

10:47: Philadelphia Eagles tase Jalen Reagor, a WR from TCU. His dad played nine years in the NFL, winning a Super Bowl ring with the Colts. He is a really good punt returner.

If you’re sitting in your house, even if you’re working, why are you wearing a jacket/tie?

10:55: Minnesota takes LSU WR Justin Jefferson, who was a n0-star recruit coming out of high school in Louisiana. His older brothers also played football at LSU. Jefferson played out of the slot the great majority of the time at LSU; what happens to Adam Thielen?

Kurt Warner has a strong home setup, with a Lombardi Trophy, his Hall of Fame bust and his Man of the Year trophy all there. Not as good as Michael Irvin’s, but not bad.

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer must like to hunt; he had some very large heads of dead animals mounted in his living room, over the fireplace.

10:59: New England traded the 23rd pick to the Chargers for 2nd/3rd round picks; Patriots now have 13 picks in this draft. Chargers take Oklahoma LB Kenneth Murray, who saved a woman’s life with CPR last year. ESPN’s Booger MacFarland liked this pick, but he’s liked every pick he’s been asked about tonight.

Chargers’ GM Tom Telesco has a surfboard in his dining room; not sure what thats about. 

11:09: Saints take Michigan C Cesar Ruiz, who can play either guard or center. He started 31 games at Michigan. Offensive linemen tend to be obscure, but other than the QB, they’re the most valuable guys on the team- they allow the offense to operate.

11:12: 49ers traded three picks to Minnesota to move into the 25th pick; Niners then take WR Brandon Aiyuk, from Arizona State. He has an 81-inch wingspan, the longest wingspan of any player under 6-feet tall in NFL Combine history.

Aiyuk is the sixth WR taken in the first round.

11:23: Green Bay traded with Miami to move into this slot; they take QB Jordan Love from Utah State. Aaron Rodgers is 36; Brett Favre was 35 when Green Bay drafted Rodgers. Love only got one I-A scholarship offer out of high school, but Rodgers didn’t have any— he played in junior college before playing for the Cal Bears.

Quote from someone close to Rodgers: “Aaron feels betrayed, he was told by management they would get him some weapons to throw to.” Uh oh.

Considering this is a virtual operation, there haven’t been many glitches on TV. Impressive.

11:34: Seattle takes Jordyn Brooks, a LB from Texas Tech; he’ll play against his old college coach Kliff Kingsbury twice a year. ESPN said he is a better pass rusher than a cover guy, but Mel Kiper called him “a tackling machine” He runs a 4.5 40-yard dash, has a balky shoulder.

11:41: Baltimore Ravens take Patrick Queen, another LSU LB; I’m guessing the Bayou Bengals will be young at LB this season. Queen grew up 30 miles from Baton Rouge, but is the first player from his high school to be offered a scholarship by LSU.

This is the first time the Ravens ever drafted an LSU player; their old GM Ozzie Newsome, played college ball at Alabama.

11:48: Tennessee takes T Isaiah Wilson, a guard from Georgia. He is 6-6, 350, very good run blocker; but Mel Kiper thought he needed another year in Athens.

This gives the SEC 13 first round picks, setting the record for a conference.

11:58: Miami drafts DB Noah Igbinoghene, a former WR who got switched to DB because he has bad hands. Both of his parents competed in the Olympics for the Nigerian track team- they both ran track in the SEC. His sister is a track athlete, also at Auburn.

With this guy and Tua Tagovailoa getting drafted, going to be lot of copy/paste by Miami beat writers. Tough names to spell.

12:02am: Minnesota takes Jeff Gladney, a DB from TCU. If you play DB in the Big X, you’re battle tested; some scouts question how Gladney will do against more physical receivers.

12:10am: Defending Super Bowl champ Chiefs take Clyde Edwards-Helaire, a RB from LSU, making it 15 first round picks for the SEC. Versatile player, this kid is only 5-8, but catches the ball well, which is obviously important in today’s pro football.

Before I go tonight, a public service announcement, from Dr Eugene Gu, a doctor, an actual medical expert. Please listen to medical experts.

“PLEASE do not inject anything into your body or ingest anything at all to kill the coronavirus. There is NO SUBSTANCE that will disinfect your body of the coronavirus from the inside. Don’t inject or drink bleach, soap, don’t do isopropyl alcohol, lysol, or ANYTHING WHATSOEVER.”

Thursday’s List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud…….

13) You know things are off-kilter when my entertainment Monday night was watching a replay of the 1989 NFL Draft, when Troy Aikman, Barry Sanders, Derrick Thomas all got drafted.

Was interesting to hear people comment on the picks, hear some familiar names from the past. Not everyone thought Aikman was a lock to be a great player; Joe Theismann thought he was a bit of a reach as a #1 pick, that Dallas should’ve traded the pick.

Fans at the draft cheered Pete Rozelle when he started the draft; commissioners these days take a lot of grief when they open the draft. Maybe Roger Goodell gets a reprieve tonight, when he kicks off the draft from his basement.

12) Couple of Cincinnati Bengal nuggets:
— Joe Burrow wasn’t alive the last time the Bengals won a playoff game (1990)
— Cincinnati went 2-14 last year, but they led at one point in 12 of the 16 games.

11) Pittsburgh Steelers have already signed nine players from the XFL, which leads you to think that they’ll be mostly passing on college free agents.

10) Seattle/New England are only two NFL teams that have had winning records every season since 2012.

9) 7th pick in the 1994 NFL Draft was traded three times, most times a draft pick has ever been traded. 49ers wound up with the pick; they took Bryant Young, a defensive lineman who wound up playing 13 years for San Francisco. 

8) From Jon Rothstein: Over the last five NBA drafts, of the 150 players taken in the first round, only four were kids who transferred during their college career.

7) Rams won’t have a first round pick for the 4th year in row; they’re first team since the ’97 Chargers to go four years in a row without a first round pick.

6) Saw a very touching interview the other night with the great musician Wynton Marsalis, whose dad recently passed away from COVID-19. He feels the same way about his dad the way I felt about my dad, who passed away five years ago. Brought tears to my eyes.

5) Bad sign for baseball starting anytime soon; Louisville Slugger closed the factory where they make their baseball bats this week.

4) Was watching an old Mets game from 1999; they rally to win the game in the last inning on a single by Matt Franco; the winning pitcher was Pat Mahomes- you may have heard of his son, Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes.

3) Not sure why SNY showed an old Pirates-Mets game from 2012, but a Pirate OF named Travis Snider made one of the greatest catches, maybe the best catch I’ve ever seen, robbing Mike Baxter of a home run in a late season game. He climbed the RF fence, and caught the ball 2-3 feet over the fence. Tremendous play.

2) White Sox SS Tim Anderson is the first player ever to win a batting title in the same season he led the league in errors.

1) I know the draft is tonight and there isn’t anything else going on in sports and people get paid to write them, but good grief I’m tired of mock drafts. Will be fun to write about real events. 

Wednesday’s List of 13: The Professor’s favorite sports books

My friend Dave is very smart, a professional educator- he reads a lot of books. Here is his list of his favorite sports books.

Very hard to do this list, I read around 40 books a year and at least a quarter of them fall into the sports genre, here we go:

My 13 favorite all time sports books (in alphabetical order, by author)

— “Giant Steps: An Autobiography” by Kareem Abdul- Jabbar- Another childhood athletic hero, Kareem writes like people wished he spoke with the media in those days (powerful stuff on his conversion to Islam)

— “Open” by Andre Agassi- My tennis idol as a kid, we all tried to hit the ball on the rise like Andre (and I did have the denim shorts!); Agassi is very honest about how he feels about his family, his childhood, his coaches, his sport

— “Men in Green” by Michael Bamberger- If you miss golf in the 1960s/70s, this one is for you

— “Ball Four” by Jim Bouton- Can’t have a list like this without Bouton’s ground breaking look behind the curtain

— “The Red Rose Crew” by Daniel J Boyne: Looks at the 1975 US women’s crew team, well written and researched, if you want to have some understanding of some true pioneers of women athletes, this is your book

—- “The Game” by Ken Dryden- Diary of a week in the life of one of the greatest hockey goalies of all time, he writes well and thinks deep

— “Summer of ’49” by David Halberstam- About the one game playoff between the Yankees and Red Sox that settled the 1949 AL pennant; wonderful portraits of a bunch of great characters, plus a meditation on post war America, and the coming importance of television

— “Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times” by Thomas Hauser- This came out in the mid 90s, an oral history with around 200 commentators, there’s more current books that are good but I really like this one for the voices and perspectives

— “Seabiscuit: An American Legend” by Laura Hillenbrand- The life of an old trainer, a washed up jockey and a broken hearted owner come together to find the most unlikely sports hero of the 1930s (this horse was world famous)- great read but it’s ok to see the movie instead 🙂

— “Michael Jordan: The Life”  by Roland Lazemby- My favorite athlete of all time, this is an unflinching portrait (Halberstam and Stan Smith have really good Jordan books as well)

— “When Pride Still Mattered” by David Marannis- A great biography of Vince Lombardi by a dogged reporter and master wordsmith

— “A Sense of Where You Are” by John McPhee- The classic book about Bill Bradley when he was at Princeton, if you haven’t read any McPhee you’re in for a treat

— “The Big Bam” by Leigh Montville- A really fun biography of Babe Ruth

2 Lists for Twosday: Pretty difficult trivia questions……

These are difficult trivia questions; see how you do before you look up the answers. I’ll post the answers in a few days. 


13) Who was player-coach of the Detroit Pistons at age 24? He also pitched in 36 games for the Chicago White Sox.

12) Which TV personality was QB at Louisiana Tech just before Terry Bradshaw?

11) When baseball started divisional play in 1969, which four teams made the playoffs that first season?

10) Oakland A’s won three straight World Series, from 1972-74; Dick Williams managed the A’s in ’72-’73. Who was Oakland’s manager in ’74?

9) In 1994, Montreal Expos had the best record in the National League when the season ended because of a labor dispute. Who was manager of the Expos back then?

8) Everyone knows the first Super Bowl was Packers-Chiefs, Lombardi against Hank Stram. Green Bay played Oakland in Super Bowl II; who coached the Raiders back then?

7) What team did Wayne Gretzky play his last NHL game with?

6) Nick Saban coached two other college teams, other than LSU/Alabama; which two?

5) Who scored the first 2-point conversion in the NFL, back in 1994?

4) Who succeeded Jerry Tarkanian as basketball coach at UNLV?

3) Which NBA team drafted Bill Russell?

2) Who was Michael Jordan’s first head coach in the NBA?

1) Other than Wrigley Feld, Fenway Park, what is the oldest ballpark in the major leagues? 

Tuesday’s Den: An enthusiastic endorsement of ESPN’s The Last Dance


13) ESPN struck television gold Sunday night, showing an entertainment-starved country the first two episodes of “The Last Dance”, a 10-part documentary about the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls. Originally slated to air June 3rd, it was pushed up because of the pandemic. Two episodes will run on each of the next four Sunday nights.

It isn’t often a program with high expectations meets those expectations, but this program was two hours of great research, artfully presented. If you like the NBA or college basketball at all, you’ll enjoy this look back at a part of our sports history.

12) Bulls had won five of previous seven NBA titles; they allowed NBA cameras access to their inner circle for what Phil Jackson knew would be his last season as the Bulls’ coach.

Back in 1997, the head of NBA Entertainment was Adam Silver, now the Commissioner, so this was his brainchild. Tall, bald guys with glasses tend to be smart 🙂

11) Phil Jackson averaged 6.7 ppg in 17.6 mpg in 12 NBA seasons. 10 with the Knicks, two with the Nets. He missed the Knicks’ 1970 title season after back surgery; he scored 8.1 ppg for the ’73 Knicks, who also won a championship.

10) Jackson coached here in Albany in five years, coaching the Patroons in the old CBA; from there he went to the Bulls, was an assistant for three years, then took over for the 1989-90 season.

Jackson was an NBA head coach for 20 years, winning 11 titles. Best NBA coach ever.

9) From November 1995 to June 1997, the Bulls were favored in 185 consecutive games, thats now great they were; but GM Jerry Krause knew the team’s great run was nearing an end, and he toyed with the idea of trading Scottie Pippen before the 1997-98 season, to try and head off the franchise’s inevitable decline. That idea was rejected by owner Jerry Reinsdorf.

8) Krause takes a pretty good beating on this show, since his professional relationship with the coaches, players deteriorated over time. Plus he is deceased, so he couldn’t be interviewed for the show, to present his side of the story.

But much like Art Howe’s portrayal in Moneyball, no team wins six titles without a really good GM; Krause made this trade, one that made the Bulls truly great:

June 22, 1987: Scottie Pippen was traded by the Seattle SuperSonics with a 1989 1st round draft pick to the Chicago Bulls, for Olden Polynice, a 1988 2nd round pick and a 1989 1st round pick.

7) Pippen missed 38 games in 1997-98 after having surgery; Chicago was 51-14 that year when he was in the lineup, 26-12 when he wasn’t.

6) Former Bulls’ center Bill Wennington is quoted a lot in the first two episodes; looks like he has a slot machine in his living room, which is pretty cool.

5) Steve Kerr won three rings playing for the Bulls; he’s won eight rings overall, three coaching the Warriors, two more playing for San Antonio. He is the only person ever to win 3+ titles, as both a player and a head coach.

4) Jordan played for three head coaches in this first three NBA seasons; Jackson was his 4th head coach in six years. One of the other coaches was Stan Albeck, who had been a coach for the Spurs, Nets, Cavaliers, and was also once Wilt Chamberlain’s assistant coach with the old San Diego Conquistadors in the ABA, in 1973-74. Albeck could write a hell of a book.

3) In one of Jordan’s North Carolina clips they showed, a Duke player named Chip Engelland appears very briefly. Engelland has gone on to become one of the best-ever shooting coaches in NBA history (Kawhi Leonard ring a bell?)

Engelland had been a ballboy for John Wooden’s UCLA teams; he scored 1,000+ points at Duke, then he played overseas for nine years. He’s been a Spurs assistant since 2005.

2) They showed when Phil Jackson won his first NBA title with the Bulls in ‘91, beating the Lakers in LA, one of the first people to shake his hand on the court was Jack Nicholson.

1) So what I’m saying here is that if you like basketball, you’ll thoroughly enjoy this look back into NBA history. I know I did. 

Monday’s Den: Colleges that produced the best NFL quarterbacks:

1) Stanford:
— John Elway, Andrew Luck, John Brodie, Jim Plunkett— Lot of depth here.

2)  Alabama:
— Bart Starr, Joe Namath, Ken Stabler— Four Super Bowl titles there.

3) Purdue:
— Drew Brees, Bob Griese, Len Dawson, Jim Everett

4) Notre Dame:
— Joe Montana, Joe Theismann, Daryle Lamonica, Steve Beuerlein

5) California:
— Aaron Rodgers, Steve Bartkowski, Jared Goff, Craig Morton

6) Miami:
— Jim Kelly, Bernie Kosar, Vinny Testaverde— Lot of wins, but no Super Bowl titles

7) Louisville:
— Johnny Unitas, Lamar Jackson, Teddy Bridgewater

8) Oregon:
— Dan Fouts, Chris Miller, Joey Harrington, Marcus Mariota

9) Michigan:
— Tom Brady, Brian Griese, Jim Harbaugh

10) Washington:
— Warren Moon, Mark Brunell, Chris Chandler

11) BYU:
— Steve Young, Jim McMahon, Marc Wilson, Gifford Neilsen

12) UCLA:
— Troy Aikman, Tommy Maddox, Steve Bono, Billy Kilmer

13) USC:
— Carson Palmer, Bill Nelsen, Rodney Peete, plus about seven other guys who are either young starters (Sam Darnold), marginal starters or mostly backups.

3 Lists for Sunday: Favorite TV shows for Bartender Chris and his wife Ashley…….

Bartender Chris and Ashley’s (his wife) favorite TV shows:

Armadillo: 24 is the only show on both of these lists; I’ve never seen 11 of the 13 shows on Ashley’s list. Thats what makes life interesting; different people like different stuff.

13) Chris: The Golden Girls

Ashley: Life

12) Chris:  Frasier

Ashley: Desperate Housewives

11) Chris: Curb Your Enthusiasm

Ashley: This Is Us

10) Chris:  The Simpsons

Ashley: Orange is the New Black

9) Chris: The Sopranos

Ashley: Lost

8) Chris: Sons of Anarchy

Ashley: Parenthood

7) Chris: Cheers

Ashley: Breaking Bad

6) Chris: Quantum Leap

Ashley: The Office

5) Chris: Alf

Ashley: 24

4) Chris: Seinfeld

Ashley: Dexter

3) Chris: 24

Ashley: Grey’s Anatomy

2) Chris: Magnum PI

Ashley: Weeds

1) Chris: Miami Vice

Ashley: Shameless