Wednesday, November 12, 2014

"Lazzari's Sports Roundup" - - - - 11/8/14

*As promised: the same type of column written back in September (regarding baseball players). Now comes the FOOTBALL surname-association version. Again, no rhyme, no reason, folks--just the first players who came to mind..........

A- Anderson (Ken)--the former Bengals All-Pro QB who played 16 seasons from 1971-85. Remember when he completed 70% of his passes in 1982--which was UNHEARD of at the time? Anderson throwing to Isaac Curtis was a beautiful thing to watch....
B- Brown (Jim)--the Hall of Famer whose name ALWAYS comes up when talking about the greatest RB of all-time. My Dad always said it was like a man playing vs. boys when Jim suited up. Played 9 seasons and led the league in rushing on EIGHT occasions; kinda says it all....
C- Cappelletti (John)--the '73 Heisman winner who went on to have a very "average" career in the NFL (like many Heisman winners). Rushed for less than 3,000 yards over a 9-year career....
D- Dumervil (Elvis)--must be the name "Elvis" that makes this current DE stick out--or the fact that I saw him play on TV recently....
E- Everett (Jim)--the former All-Pro QB who threw over 200 TD passes in his career. Quite the character, too, as I get the chance to speak with this man occasionally on "Thursday Night Tailgate" (Armed Forces Radio Network)....
F- Fischer (Pat)--the former undersized DB for the Redskins who played for George Allen in the 1970's. MAN, were those 'Skins teams fun to watch....
G- Gilliam (Joe)--I remember him playing QB for the Steelers during the early 70's; kids in our neighborhood called him "Jefferson Street Joe Willie Gillie Gilliam"--and had a BLAST doing it. Sadly, he battled heroin, alcohol, and cocaine addiction during his life and died in 2000 at the age of 49....
H- Hornung (Paul)--the Hall of Famer who was perhaps one of the most versatile players EVER. I never saw him play, but my father would always marvel at how this guy could run, throw, pass, AND kick (he probably sold popcorn during halftime, too). Was a star with the ladies, too, from what I've been told....
I- Inman (Jerry)--a defensive tackle for the Broncos in the late 60's/early 70's. I have NO idea how or WHY I remember this guy....
J- Johnson (Billy "White Shoes")--I mean, how can you FORGET a guy nicknamed "White Shoes?" The man could play, too--returning 8 kicks for TD's during a 14-year career with three different teams. Remember the wobbly leg TD celebrations?....
K- Kiick (Jim)--Remember the '72 Dolphins with Larry Csonka and Mercury Morris as his running mates? Undefeated and unforgettable....
L- Layne (Bobby)--Way before my time, but my Dad always said he was a hell-raiser both on AND off the field. Oh, this legendary QB is a Hall of Famer, too....
M- Marshall (Jim)--I remember him as a member of the Vikings' "Purple People Eaters" defensive unit; the guy started 270 straight games and played TWENTY years as a defensive end. Unreal....
N- Namath (Joe Willie)--a 'no-brainer' as he was an idol of mine growing up. The man put the AFL (and the Jets) on the map and wore white shoes long before "White Shoes" (see above) did. His quick release/throwing of the football is still indescribable (almost like Christie Brinkley in an evening gown--ALMOST, I said). Man, if only he had a good set of knees....
O- O'Brien (Ken)--another former Jets QB who was a first round pick in 1983. Stuck around ten years--a slight disappointment for a first-rounder....
P- Pisarcik (Joe)--an awful QB (24 TD/48 INT during his career) who will always be known for "The Fumble" in 1978. Remind ANY NY Giants fan about it and he/she will immediately run to the nearest bathroom. I have NO idea how Walter Payton--my favorite player of all-time--didn't come to mind before Joe....
Q- Quick (Mike)--former Eagles WR who led the NFL in receiving yards in 1983. I thought he possessed Hall of Fame potential, but his career headed south once he approached the age of 30....
R- Roby (Reggie)--former All-Pro punter who spent most of his career with Miami. Remember how BIG this guy was for a punter (6'3"/250 pounds)?....
S- Sims (Billy)--spent just 5 years as a pro after winning the Heisman in '78. Three 1,000-yard seasons in the NFL with Detroit before blowing out his knee in 1984....
T- Tillman (Pat)--one of my favorite PEOPLE of all-time. What can one say about a talented DB who shunned the riches of the NFL in order to serve his country in Iraq/Afghanistan as a member of the Army Rangers? A free-spirit, hero, and special individual who died doing what he believed in. There will never be another Pat Tillman, folks....
U- Urlacher (Brian)--8-time Pro Bowl LB for the Bears who had one gear on the gridiron--OVERDRIVE. A "throwback" kind of player who was all business on the field. Current Packers' LB Clay Matthews appears to pattern his game after Urlacher--yes, a GOOD choice....
V- Vick (Michael)--Unfortunately, this slime-ball/dog-abuser (I know, I know--he did his time) was the first player who came to mind. A talented athlete, for sure, who dug his own grave as far as how his legacy will pan out. *Question: How come I couldn't come up with a name such as Volk (Rick) before Vick?....
W- White (Ed)--the former All-Pro guard (played 17 seasons) who should be a Hall of Famer. An accomplished artist, too, and a man whom I'm privileged to speak with on a regular basis....
X- To my knowledge, there has never been an NFL player whose last name starts with an "X". If there was, I'd surely remember it!....
Y- Yary (Ron)--a teammate of the aforementioned Ed White who IS in the Hall of Fame. Spent 15 years as a tackle in the league and was First Team All-Pro for SIX consecutive years ('71-'76). Very first pick in the '68 draft; yeah--he was THAT good....
Z- Zombo (Frank)--currently a LB for the Chiefs. LOVE the name--which was also the name of a character who appeared on "The Munsters" back in 1966 (played by Louis Nye). Yeah, I miss Fred Gwynne and company--don't you?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

"Lazzari's Sports Roundup" - - - - 10/25/14

Nice gesture by Yale last weekend--honoring Penn football coach Al Bagnoli prior to coaching his final game at the Yale Bowl. Bagnoli is retiring at the end of this season after coaching at Penn for 23 years. Yale head coach Tony Reno and athletic director Tom Beckett met Al at midfield in a pre-game ceremony--exchanging pleasantries and presenting him with a packaged retirement gift. Bagnoli will go down as one of the great Ivy League coaches in history--having won nine outright titles. Altogether (he started his coaching career at Union), he is one of a handful of coaches in FCS history to record over 200 career wins. Best of luck, Coach Bagnoli--and kudos to the folks at Yale for recognizing the accomplishments of such a tremendous coach/gentleman..........TRIVIA QUESTION: The 1988 Detroit Lions--who finished 4-12 under head coaches Darryl Rogers and Wayne Fontes--were led in rushing by a running back who would play just three years in the NFL. Can you name this former LSU product? Answer to follow..........Speaking of Penn, the school's band started playing Queen's "Fat Bottomed Girls" at one point during last week's game at the Yale Bowl. Now THAT's a song you will NOT heard played very often at a college football game--if EVER. Sounded GOOD, too!..........Still waiting to hear back from the lovely Christie Brinkley regarding a decade-long invitation to play tennis. Can it be that she's simply been out of the country for the majority of that time and doesn't read sports columns on a regular basis?..........Did you know that the 2006 Oakland Raiders' highest TD total in a single game was just three--and they accomplished that just ONCE the entire season? It happened during Week 3 when they lost to Cleveland--and ONE of those touchdowns was by the defense. Oh, yes, they scored just 168 points that year--dead last in the NFL..........ITEM: Tennessee Titans RB Shonn Greene is arrested after he allegedly parked in a handicapped space. Instead of accepting the penalty of a simple parking ticket, Greene chose to speed away from the scene and now faces MULTIPLE charges. Call me judgmental, but I'm gonna go out on a limb and state that Green was NOT enrolled in advanced microbiology courses while he was attending Iowa between 2005 and 2008..........I used to think that a Tom Seaver slider was the ultimate thing of beauty. That all changed the other day when I saw a picture of actress/model Sofia Vergara decked out in a Ruben Singer gown while at a recent event in New York City. BREATHTAKING, folks; so sorry, "Tom Terrific"..........Lazzari's "Lopsided Score of the Week": In a college football game played in Kentucky last weekend, Murray State annihilated Kentucky Wesleyan 86-29; the winning squad totaled a whopping 720 yards of offense in this game. Incredibly, this match-up was still competitive at halftime--with MSU holding a 41-29 lead. Yes, folks--that means Murray State outscored Kentucky Wesleyan 45-0 in the SECOND HALF. I can only think of two scenarios that would explain the second half dominance of the winning team: 1) MSU must have REALLY been angry at halftime after giving up 29 points and vowed to shut down Kentucky Wesleyan the rest of the way, or 2) The Kentucky Wesleyan starters got on the bus and WENT HOME at halftime--thinking 41-29 was the final score..........The more I read about "character issues" possessed by both Percy Harvin and Marshawn Lynch, the more I am impressed by Pete Carroll and his coaching ability/player management skills after winning the Super Bowl last season..........Answer to trivia question: GARRY JAMES--who rushed for 552 yards (at an average of only three yards per carry); James played in the league from 1986-1988..........Finally, condolences go out to the family of former USC swim team coach Peter Daland--who died recently in California at the age of 93 after suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Daland coached at USC from 1958-1992 and was also an assistant at Yale during the 1950's. Altogether, he won NINE NCAA championships at the southern California school and coached approximately 400 All-Americans. In addition, he coached the U.S. women in the 1964 Olympics and the U.S. men during the '72 Games in Munich--where he mentored the great Mark Spitz. He has been inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame, the American Swimming Coaches Association Hall of Fame, and the USC Athletic Hall of Fame. Yes, the pool at USC's aquatic center now bears the name of this legendary coach. Peter Daland is survived by his wife of 50 years, Ingrid, five children, and eight grandchildren. Rest in peace, "Coach."