Tag Archive: NFL


Al Davis Passed away on October 8, 2011. So I went to my shoe-boxes of memorabilia to remember him here.

Friday Evening, April Third, Nineteen Hundred-Ninety-Two” is how the Annual Hall Of Fame Dinner Dance program reads.  It was much more than that, it was a celebration of Al Davis, Alumni, innovator, sports revolutionary and the President of  the General Partner of the “Team of The Ages”, the (hated by me always as N.Y. Jet fan), Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders.  That day, I got my supervisor at the school I taught at to give me the afternoon off and drove out to the early Press Conference on my old campus.  Being rather new to interviewing  at the time, I usually questioned entertainment celebs and cool musicians to that point; that was all about to change.

Al Davis was a one-of-a-kind man. I loved it and it simultaneously sent chills down my spine when he spoke of “Fear, Intimidation, Big People and Speed” being the qualities that he looked for when evaluating talent and teams. Unabashedly he told us he was always “aggressive and never lacking in self-confidence.” I loved this guy, and was scared of him like I was my father when I was a child.  The kind of “I know he can kick my ass” scared respect.  More kids need that these days, but that is for another post.  This event was about Al’s association with Adelphi University baseball back in those days just after the institution first allowed men to complete the undergraduate population.

Although I botched the final one-to-one interview by forgetting to disengage the “pause” button on my hand-held recorder (a classic Jimi B “absent-minded professor” moment) at least I remembered smoothly on-the-fly in-time to get a last up-close reply to my question where he repeated the “dare to dream” reply that I initiated by asking him what special qualities he thought that attending Adelphi University instilled in all of the many successful alum who passed-through that University. Then he was dismissing me with his body language for the next reporter to ask a question. Al Davis was a real “direct” kind of man. I like that, and want to incorporate more of that quality into my own personality for the duration.  

In 1952, Mr. Davis left Adelphi; then came back several times, but this was the first time back since around ’55 or so, he said.

Things Al Davis said that afternoon:

“42 years ago I was invited to be at Adelphi College… (what it was called when it was an all woman’s school) to start the Freshman football program”…when he said he drove a “Desoto convertible; black, white tires, chrome…” (a lot of laughs on that one!) They eventually hired him. He also played/managed the Adelphi Baseball team.

“My inspirations (in response to a question by one of the assembled media reporters from all the metro NYC dailies were in attendance) were two teams,the New York Yankees and the Dodgers. Two teams that epitomized the qualities that I eventually developed in The Raiders, tradition, intimidation, speed, and the Big Play…”

“I was always interested more in the man behind the scenes. Especially Branch Rickey and George Weiss; they were my inspirations to lead.”

“I was given a chance to assert my authority…”

When asked how he felt and if it made him feel a certain way to be inducted into the Adelphi University Athletic Hall of Fame, replied, “I don’t know what constitutes being inducted into the Hall Of Fame; what the criteria is, etc”

Al Davis was the first and only Commissioner of the AFL (American Football League), which I took affinity to as a young man, by-the-way, over the older NFL that my Dad’s generation was into. He said he never sought-out to be Commissioner; he was an English/Secondary Education major at Adelphi and into “writers”. On the merger with the NFL, that he told us, “It was a big accomplishment for me.”

Al Davis is tough to paraphrase. If you asked a follow-up question and it wasn’t exactly what he said or you rephrased it in your own words, he’d quickly correct you! It was cool and amusing to me after I dug it, but the first time, you almost think he is just being rude.   

At one point, a woman reporter asked him, “Are you from money?” I couldn’t believe she asked him that!! He made a wise crack that is intelligible on my cassette tape of that day that broke up the room, and then recounted a story of how he grew up across from where Mike Tyson did, playing in Lincoln Terrace Park, Brooklyn (which is not “from money”). He told that story and that Tyson heard him tell it one time and that Mike’s park across from that was in Brownsville/East New York, and Tyson had commented to his boys about Al being “One tough sonofabitch!” Great laughter followed that story too!

What is Al Davis like? He said, “I know I was Aggressive…” Then he spoke of “the Golden Rule that many of us were taught to live by in those days (I don’t know about now..) but he learned that “If you are going to lead men and be in-charge, it doesn’t work that way. You don’t do unto others as you would have them do unto you – you do unto others as they want to be treated!” He went on to say, (and I think this point of the press conference was where Al Davis had become comfortable in-front of this particular group and dropped his best science) “You have to learn what they [the players in this instance] like to be treated. Yes, they will sulk…” And he went on to recount some specific player examples by name.

As Adelphi University baseball Coach he said that his experience was “not that much different from what I’m doing today in pro football.” He “tried new things [positionally with players]; specialization sharing…”

From an early age, Al Davis said that he had “insights”. “I never lacked self-confidence...” I mentioned having “great players” often. I liked that. He told us of a time that he sent a telegram to Vince Lombardi that said “The toughest ting is to maintain” (as opposed to Lombardi saying it is to rebuild).

Everyday is a new experience in life & death” he repeated a couple of times in response to questions about he his life and sports have intertwined during this press conference.

Since I was covering this even for the (then) Adelphi University radio station WBAU, I asked him, “Did radio covered your on-field exploits back in those days?” He said he didn’t know if radio covered or carried the games, but that [long Island newspaper] Newsday did. As a follow up, I asked him about a hot news story at the time, “How did the Bo Jackson career-ending injury affected The Raiders? He was candid at that moment when he replied, in a slightly softer tone of voice, “Devastating for The Raiders, the player…he was very unique…” his voice trailing-off a bit. Ever notice how guys like Mr. Davis, Bill Parcells, etc always refer to their guys as “the player’ ? Rarely by name; interesting, but not a big deal. By the way, he showed his love and respect for one John Madden, by mentioning that he became the Head Coach of The Raider in 1969 a few times. He also talked about the great singer Sarah Vaughn fondly. He’s met her doing the national anthem at Raider games, and stayed in-touch with her, even going to see her in New York City’s Greenwich Village jazz clubs!

So I did a follow-up-follow-up since I had the floor and asked Mr. Davis the name of the only Black player in the picture displayed of the old Adelphi baseball team he coached. Uh-oh, that might have been one query too many. He replied, “I don’t like to look at people that way [inaudible]…” talked something about “all cultures”, and kind of never answered my question while giving a lesson on how [color] didn’t matter. A great point! Maybe I should have worded my question differently to evoke the answer that I wanted – for all of you aspiring journalists – if there are any anymore. Or maybe I got just the right answer from “Mr. Direct”.

The only other question I hit him with was “Since there are many successful Adelphi University graduates out here in the world who’ve gone on to achieve big things, to what special qualities do you attribute that to?” “I’m not sure, but a solid foundation and the ability to dream BIG. Dream big…” he replied.

Al Davis, President of the General Partner, was a real “man’s man”. ‘Took no shit… I could tell.  I wrote these words about him that day in the beautiful program, “direct, arrogant, determined, mysterious.”

Pick-Hitt: This blog is two years old, this month! Hoorah! What began as a vehicle to vent about heartbreak is now a legitimate writing exercise and way to creatively share experiences and some stories of my past, express the love I feel for my fiancee along with joy, frustration, pain of my present promotions and anticipation of a successful second half of my life. And, even though it hasn’t earned me a red cent as those who suggested I begin bloggin’ said it would, and it became another “labor of love” that I do less frequently than at its inception, I still am bold enough to say and please raise a challis in celebration of my efforts and the comments and encouragement begot by all of your many eyes upon my words, if you will… Happy birthday to “Achilliad”!  Feel free to comment.

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This is my 100th blog post since beginning this wordy journey in November of 2009.  A momentous occasion that I share with the Green Bay Packers’ victory on Super Bowl Sunday, so I will commemorate this occasion with some thoughts and realizations that are running through my brain, beginning with the question, WHY is PBS, NBC news and whoever else acting like one of our dead Presidents, Ronald Reagan, is still alive in the physical world?  This blog is alive at one-hundred; Reagan is not. I don’t want the notariety – I give it to myself, lol.  No other past President gets this treatment, and there are plenty who were better at it than Reagan in the modern era and historically in the USA!  OMG. Why are they promoting “Ronald Reagan at 100” as if this, the first-ever real “acting President” (just another Hollywood role for him)  is still around?  WTF?

They don’t do this with John F. Kennedy, who was hands-down much better a President on his “birthday” – in fact I don’t even know when JFK’s birthday is, even though it is just an Ask.com search away; even Eisenhower was a better republican and President; how about Lyndon Johnson?  Why not dig-up Nixon’s Capricorn birthday?  How old is he now?  Who appointed Ronnie Reagan the greatest President of all time? Silly network News Directors, that is who.   This is television News Director bias, and it shows that with all the other stuff that we can “celebrate” about humanity, these people are unqualified for their jobs.    

I LOVE the PBSNewshour btw; it is the best newscast and most non-sidetaking  of all.  That is why it is so bewildering for them to want to glorify a mediocre President like Reagan.  Speaking of Presidents, having President Obama blend into the mediocrity of his predicessors in office proves one thing for sure: NO President, no matter the color of skin, gender or mindset can effect real change under the present circumstances and rules.  Corporations, especially technological ones, are the real pushers of our collective “envelope”.  Why?  Term Limits.  Once they were enacted, they sealed the fateful deal visa v “democracy”.  Oh, sure, limits are wonderful if an asshole with dictatorial leanings is elected.  However, if you get a genuinely good person who is popular with the majority of Americans, the system is “fixed” so that  there is eventual gridlock guaranteed and the necessary time that a person would need to truly enact a new direction for the nation is not available.  Why doesn’t anybody in the news organizations revisit that debate instead of trying to put a mediocre President on Mount Rushmore?

I remember Reagan most for breaking the air traffic controllers union, and starting us on a path of union-busting and industry deregulation that we are still paying for with something called unemployment!  My late father used to say that “Reagan enacts laws upon the backs of those who can least afford them…”  Prophecy fulfilled, Dad.  Reagan ignored Black Americans and other minorities as if we would just “go away” magically.  There are plenty of ordinary global citizens who are one-hundred years old, who deserve more kudos than Ronald Reagan – obviously this is another corporate media conspiracy inspired by fans of “the gipper”, a fictional movie character, to coincide with Super Bowl Sunday.   

Pickhit: Congrats to the Green Bay Packers (who I picked, btw), my tele was quieter than ever in recent memory on a Super Sunday, however, and I missed being at my dearly departed friend Rodney’s “garagemahal” watching it (see my post “Ashes to….”); and – can we stop covering the personal lives of athletes past and present, please?  We, who have any lives of our own to manage, do not care.

Sureshot: For those of us who “cut the cable”, it was very dramatic trying to find a stable stream of the Super Bowl game. I heard that if you searched for atdhe.net, an emblem and badge from Homeland Security appeared with the words “this domain has been seized…” Wow! Why did they  comandeer them?  Hmmm, people watched games there all season, why now?  Maybe the greedy misguided Grinch, “Mr. Roger” (Goodell), made a phone call?  Upon leaving church early this afternoon, the world had the feel of it seriously losing it’s grip.  Several people died in January; two women who were close to me, including one of my two remaining Aunts on Mum’s side.  Serious sadness among the madness.

World Premiere: My informal “poll” of the Egyptian tobacco/lottery/beer store owners in this city says NONE of them want to see Mubarak leave, and that the USA should stay out of events there.  They tell me that this whole scenario is a ploy to install a bin Laden sympathizer “government” so that they can surround Israel,  challenge the Saudis and then export the  ideology of the whole world adopting their version of the muslim religion.  You heard it here first. If I were President, we’d return to a version of “isolationism” that I learned in  my ninth grade Social Studies class for a while.  Take a deep breath, y’all.   Peace.

Roger Goodell’s NFL  is for “sissies” or maybe my little sister (when she was “little”) and today he provided more evidence of this by postponing the Sunday night NBC game of the week between the Minnesota Vikings and host Philadelphia Eagles.  What a wimp and dangerous precedent!  Maybe it is another part of the curse of the Farve who stayed too long, because these days when the Vikings are involved, there is always some drama.  That is one reason I wanted to unwrap this game from among my Xmas presents.  Cheer denied.  I wanted to see Michael Vick, the human snowball!

Part of the charm of the NFL and football as a game is that there were never rain-outs nor any kind of postponement due to weather.  These guys get paid a king’s ransom and perform in any kind of weather – until Goodell took over as the “commissioner”.  I think he got off at the wrong exit on the way to his job interview; he was looking for the Nanny Fairy League offices.

So, thanks to their decision to postpone the game for not one, but two days because of a snow storm,  they shortened our holiday weekend considerably, and I personally was looking forward to relaxing on my futon, beverage in-hand, and milking the last few hours of the 2010 Christmas holiday weekend.  Many people are even off on Monday, yet Mr. Goodell is playing Ebenezer Scrooge and taking a gift of a game from under our Christmas tree. 

In October he had the players wearing pink accessories like ballerinas, and now he is telling them they are not tough enough nor the fans brave enough to play in the snow for the first time in my recollection of watching this sport which goes back to the 1960s.  This definitely is not “your father’s NFL”, nor now is it my NFL either!  I feel for the players who get themselves all practiced and psyched-up to play, traveling (in Minnesota’s case) to be  in-position to compete and win, only to have GODdell tell them they cannot at the last-minute.  Many of these guys played in the snow all through their amateur career in-preparation for the “pros”, and this decision is just ridiculous.  What do you think?  Do we need a nanny state in sports too?  I think Mr. Roger should resign, and all of those who cite “public safety” as a concern should be voted out of office.  We need a tough guy as the head of the National Football League; Pete Rozelle was in the background much more, and I love him for being that way. I nominate the NFL’s Roger Goodell and whatever co-conspirators in the city of Philadelphia who are also Nannies as 2010 Holiday Scrooge of the Year.  Stop protecting us from yourselves!

P.S. I never thought Michael Vick would make a post of mine; just goes to show you, as my girlfriend overseas and I always say, “never say ‘never'”.

P.P.S.  Having watched the “game” this late Tuesday night I say this: As  a NY Jets fan for decades,, GOD-ELL made a really bad call, which affectd the outcome of the Philly/Minnesota game . In effect  he “fixed” the game in favor of Minnesota and should resign.  what a bad example to set as a Nanny!
You must know that Michael Vick would have juked the Viking defense all over the place in the snow, on Sunday night! Instead, Roger the Doger and his government in Philly co-conspiritors chose to impersonate Mother Nature and throw the game. A damn  Shame.

First: PLEASE contribute to my urgent Ukraine Fund-raising pledge drive; You may donate via my web site or e-mail us to find a more personal way to help my cause.   ASAP.  Thank you.

So!!.. I am the star quarterback of the New York Jets football club, and my name is Bret Farve.  I have gone through many a run at retirement, my wife is a legend of cancer recovery, right?  So, yes this cheerleader/reporter is hotter than hot, and we as fans have known about Jenn as a class act for at least two years, and haven’t harassed her. So…why do I, as Bret Farve , become so stupid as Tiger’s wood did to the point that I ignore the technology with which we communicate to the point that I text/sms this female with intimate thoughts and encourage her to “stop by my room”? More questions this “situation”  begs me to emplore you to indulge – and I will make it quick.  I must reiterate, that we JETS fans have known about this cheerleader/reporter for some time now, and she is a total class act who doesn’t  need this kind of harassment BS from an old man like Farve, nor anybody “impersonating” him ( yeah, Riite!), or whatever.  man-up and rap to her if  you want a fox like that, or else step-off! Tiger Woods is a scumbag when it comes to women.  No class. He gets the finest white chicks and he still is not satisfied. Dumbass!

I go back to my main man., Joe Namath, who I adore because his playboyness was out there and he didn’t care who said what about it.  He performed on the field, and that was what matters – unless your “wife” is a famous cancer survivor who, if that is the case, Farve should have cut ties with long ago, so that he can try to be the bachelor he never was and share phone camera pic of his limp dick to an unwilling subject and the rest of us who go “Ewwww!” in the world.  The following questions apply:

1 -Do we HAVE to see some limp dick in a video??
2 -Are all modern day “jocks” absent of COMMON SENSE?
3 – IS this another TIGER’s wood situation?
4 – Will Farve please go AWAY?
5 – Will the J-E-T-S Jets, Jets, Jets beat the socks off the Vikings on Sunday? Nyet.

Why did the J-E-T-S, Jet, Jets, Jets need Bret Farve anyway.  What had he done lately, I still want to know! LOL [originally composed during the early 2010 NFL season]

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