Dec 17, 2017

NFL Week 15: Jim Nantz

This week's announcer in focus: our good friend Jim Nantz!
 
Not much introduction for Nantz is really needed, is it? Nantz was born in Charlotte (actually, that explains a lot about his bias in the NCAA tournament) , lived in New Orleans and ended up in high school in New Jersey. He went to college at the University of Houston - majoring in broadcasting and playing on the golf team. Who was on the golf team with him those years? Freddie Couples; Couples and Nantz were roommates for most of his college career. Nantz recounted a time in college when he and Couples were sitting around one day; Couples said he was going to win the Masters in the future, and Nantz pipes in: "And I'll be there to announce your win!". So it was clear early on what Nantz's goals were.

(Note: Blaine McCallister - another PGA Tour member in the 80s and 90s - was also on that team).

His first jobs out of school were working Houston and Salt Lake as a sports broadcaster; Nantz joined CBS in 1985 and almost immediately went to the forefront of CBS Sports. I won't recount his whole history at CBS - we all know it - but it's amazing how quickly he became the face of CBS in the late 80s. he started with golf and NCAA basketball/football; he was leading NCAA studio shows in his 2nd year and then was in the 18th tower for CBS's golf towers in 1989. He was doing NFL games in the early 90's, went to host NFL Today when CBS re-gained the NFL package and then went back into the announcing booth in 2004 and became the #1 announcer then. We'll get to the NFL in a second....

....but first, some trips down memory lane. Here is our hero doing a promo for the '86 Masters - which would be his first Masters broadcast. Nantz lays out the importance of Amen corner and recaps the disaster that befell Curtis Strange in '85.....handing the green jacket to Bernhard Langer.....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcObgJ1UMeo

(Note 1: If Strange doesn't falter, Langer doesn't get on the cover of Golf Digest in late '85....and a young golfer in Maryland who was struggling with his putting would not read an article on how cross-handed putting helped Langer.......yes, Langer was the inspiration for me to go cross-handed, and that was 32 years ago....32 years!)

(Note 2: I want that all-red outfit that Langer wore. How in the world did that go with the green jacket?)

So they put Nantz in the 16th tower in 1986....and, the rest, they say, is history. Nantz delivered probably the greatest setup to a historical shot ever - ever!!!! - and this clip still gives me goose bumps. He knew Nicklaus's history to perfection, set up Weiskopf, and the timing was perfect.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oqLiTrTiP0E

(note 3: How in the hell can Weiskopf joke about losing the Masters to Jack? That had to have been painful.....what a professional)

Since he led studio shows for NCAA, he was the first face we saw at 6:00 pm on the second Sunday of March for the selection show! Here's one from the archives - the 1987 show, with our gambling hero Brent and the old curmudgeon, Billy Packer, at his side.

I loved those 12' foot boards from "Kansas City" - before computers, this is how they really formed the bracket, right? Moving around pre-printed magnet labels of teams around the board to create the perfect bracket and the perfect path for Dean Smith and North Carolina? *

(* - sorry, my Maryland fandom is showing. They always got easy paths to the final four in the 80s. Pure fixing.....)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUIavVHt_qU

And one more for history - Nantz as the studio host for the last Olympics not televised by NBC...the 1998 Nagano Olympics, complete with the smarmy, drug-induced introduction of a flower growing in snow...It's a huge upset that we did not hear "Hello Friends...."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4_1ey4MGu8

What do I think about Nantz as an NFL announcer? I'm sorry to say, not much. He clearly favors the big teams and I think he's very unemotional. Here's exhibit A - and this has stuck with me for a while. Cleveland-Pittsburgh, 2007. Late November game, winner leads the division. Game at Heinz field. The Steelers just scored to go back ahead (18 unanswered! Nantz for sure points this out). And then the kickoff to the Browns...

Just imagine if Gus Johnson made this call. Ian Eagle.....Sam Rosen.....anyone but Nantz.
He made this sound like a routine 3rd down conversion....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9q7w28cfSJ0

Cmon, be just a little excited....

And - found this beauty - Jeff Garcia with an epic performance against the Cowboys in 2004. This game was memorable for us as we scored late to get within one score (with :09 left, I think); then went for the on-side kick; and on the kick, Winslow injured his leg and was out for the year....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j6uHaiJpTrE&t=147s

On to the games:

Buf 23, Mia 16. There has to be a letdown after the emotional Monday win for the Dolphins..

Car 23, GB 20. Just have no feel for this for Rodgers' first game. If Green Bay wins this and makes the playoffs, those Packers fans owe us Browns fans big time.

Jax 24, Hou 20. Talk about a letdown - can't imagine the Jags will play at the same level they did vs. Seattle. And Houston and Yates are motivated; Yatets is trying to show what he can do for next year.

Min 27, Cin 13. Cincy played 3 at home in a row, with the 2nd one being the Steelers collapse. Now they go on the road against a team off a loss, trying to gain top seed?

NO 26, NYJ 13. Can't see the Saints playing with much urgency here; they will do what they can to win and get out.

Phi 24, NYG 23. Just look at what the Eagles have been through! At Seattle, at the Rams - huge emotional games. Now 3rd road game in a row, without Wentz, and this is the Giants' Super Bowl.

Was 27, Az 16. Washington has too much pride to lay down at home, and I don't trust Gabbert on the road.

Sea 30, LAR 28. We all know the drill by now. Seattle falls behind, then passes for 532 yards in the 4th quarter to make it a one-score game. They seem to have the Rams' number.

NE 31, Pit 23. I'm convinced Belicheck had the Pats play possum last week, and the Steelers' pass D is awful now.

SF 24, Ten 17. Yes, ok, I'll ride the Jimmy G bandwagon. And my cynicism of the Titans is well known.

Dal 27, Oak 20. The Cowboys will stop th Raiders enough to win here.

Atl 20, TB 17. Tampa's Super Bowl, and Atlanta struggles this year playing outdoors.

Best bets: 15 of them. Last week: 11-5; overall: 105-84-4
Buf -3
GB/Car under 47
Hou +11
Hou/Jax over 38
Min -11
NYJ/NO under 47
NYG +7.5
Phi/NYG over 40.5
Was -4
LAR/Sea over 47
NE -2.5
SF -1
Dal -3
TB +6
Atl/TB under 49

Supercontest: Last week: 5-0; overall: 44-24-2
Hou +10.5
Min -10.5
NYG +7.5
Was -4
NE -3









Dec 15, 2017

NFL Week 15 Anagram

Your anagram for week 15:

TMZ in Jan.!

With the end of the net neutrality rules per the FCC yesterday, this could be an advertising campaign by Comcast to lure customers by adding new internet access packages - but re-arrange these letters to form the name of what NFL announcer?

(see, I can be topical!)

(No, I have no idea on the details on Net Neutrailty)

Your hint - oh, hell, I'm in a good mood, let's make it easy..... Freddie Couples!


Dec 10, 2017

NFL Week 14: Spero Dedes

Your NFL Announcer in focus this week: Spero Dedes!


Spero has risen up the ranks quite quickly, as far as announcers go. In a world of Verne Lundquist and Dick Stockton, Spero could easily have 50-60 years in the announcing business if he so chose. He started early with the NBA and is now one of the staples of the CBS roster of play by play announcers. He currently is on the #6 NFL team with Adam Archuleta - so that means someone like Jay (a Patriots fan) will never see him, but Browns fans will probably have him 4-5 times a year.

He was born in 1979 in New Jersey, and at 22 started working for the New Jersey Gladiators of the Arena Football league. I didn't realize they had full time play by play announcers! Can't even imagine what channel those were televised on.

Fun fact - the Gladiators moved in 2002 to Las Vegas, and then in 2008 to Cleveland. What a connection for this blog!


Somehow, in 2005, Dedes got the break of his life by being named as the main play by play announcer for the Lakers. The Lakers! At 26! Can you even imagine being 26 and on the road with the Lakers traveling to all those cities with the team....wow.... he started working for CBS in 2009 part-time around his Lakers' duties; that's when he started appearing on random NFL games and the final #8 pairing for the NCAA tournament.

In 2011, he left the Lakers and now is the main radio voice for the Knicks. He wanted to work both NBA and become a staple on the national CBS broadcasts, and this move to New York allowed him to do that. He's still with the Knicks as they toil through their season. The one moment of notoriety - a negative one -was a slip up when calling a Jeremy Lin game. Here's Spero's radio call.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oanBaRDkTMc

Spero got reprimanded for this, but not fired; I think it was unfair that the ESPN guy got fired for this error. On both parts, it seemed completed unintentional.

Spero has been doing the NCAA tournament for a few years now - the best call I could find was in 2016 - a game that ended late (past 1 am) and it's amazing people nationally don't talk about this more. In fact, that year (2016) had some of the greatest finishes in the first two rounds - think Northern Iowa vs Texas, Northern Iowa vs. Texas A&M, and Layup's favorite - the Wisconsin/Xavier game.

I'm sure many of you forgot this game. Watch this live and try to make a decision. Then watch the replay 10 times and make a decision. It's sooooo close.....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5ORb2OwkWA

Football-wise, Spero's picture has been on my basement wall for 351 days now - since he is the last play by play announcer of a Browns win! Yes, he was on the call on Dec 24, 2016 last year for the Browns' 20-17 win over the Chargers. I was in a car driving everyone up to Columbus for Christmas eve, so I did not see this live....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZMEGuWcHtKY

I think it's in Spero's contract to call Browns-Chargers games. He did last week as well, and he also called a game in 2013 where the Browns won a classic, 7-6, over San Diego.

He also called the Arizona-Jacksonville game 2 weeks ago when our favorite Browns kicker from the past, Phil Dawson, hit a 57 yarder at the gun to win. Arizona was one of my picks in the Supercontest, and this caused a 2 minute dance on the patio by yours truly....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sC-W5ZZ5Cww

Will Spero be on the call again Christmas eve when the Ravens visit - and maybe we can find a win this year? Only Les Moonves knows!

On to the games....

Buf 24, Ind 17. Can't imagine the motivation the Colts have here, going to cold Buffalo. Their lack of D should be the key in a Bills win.

Car 24, Min 16. A desperate Panthers team; a third road game in a r



ow for the Vikes, and I don't think the Vikes have an explosive offense to run away from the Panthers. Carolina will find a way.

Cin 23, Chi 16. Yes, the Bengals may have a letdown after the loss to the Steelers - but jees, have you seen the Bears offense?

Hou 27, SF 17. Talking about the Bears and SF- let's not go crazy over Jimmy G's win last week. The Bears had less than 40 plays. Of course the Bears D would be tired and Jimmy G would look good...

KC 30, Oak 13. I know KC sucks right now - but I'm believing in Reid to get just a half of a defensive effort. The Chiefs will move the ball vs. the Raiders, and Oak's offense is struggling too.

Det 31, TB 20. Det struggles when pressure is put on their O line - and that is exactly what Tampa does not have.

NYG 23, Dal 20. Dallas's D is awful; the Skins shot themselves in the foot last week. A re-energized Giants team with Eli will move the ball.

Az 27, Ten 20. I continue to believe that Tennessee is a fraud; they have no pass D (so Gabbert and Az should move) and their offense is all based on the run, which Az can stop.

Den 23, NYJ 19. Eight straight losses against the spread for Denver! This has to stop, right? By principle, if the Jets are favored on the road, go against them.

LAC 24, Was 17. Should be a lot of running on both sides given that each team has little run defense.

Jax 24, Sea 13. The only thing Seattle can do is pass, which is matched up against Jax #1 pass defense. The concern here is Bortles vs. the Sea defense.....

Phi 27, LAR 23. Last week, I saw that the Rams run D is vulnerable. If Philly can get the run game going, setting up play action - look out!

Pit 20, Bal 17. Back to the days of a tight 3 point game between these 2.

NE 27, Mia 13.  The only question here - how motivated is NE to score in this game? Going up against Miami, they can name their score.

Best bets: 16 of them. Last week: 6-7; overall: 94-79-4
Buf -3
Car +2.5
Hou -2.5
KC -4
Oak/KC under 48.5
Det -2.5
Det/TB over 45
NYG +3.5
Az +2.5
Ten/Az over 43
Den +1
Was/LAC under 46.5
Jax -2.5
Phi pk
Bal/Pit under 43.5
NE/Mia under 47.5

Supercontest picks: Last week: 3-2; overall: 39-24-2
Car +2.5
KC -4
Az +3
Jax -2.5
Phi +2





Dec 8, 2017

NFL Week 14 Anagram

This week's anagram of our announcer:

"Red Speedos!"

This may be what Marge Schott asked the 1985 Cincinnati baseball team to wear for their team picture - but rearrange these letters to form the name of what NFL announcer?

Your hint: Jeremy Lin!



Dec 3, 2017

NFL Week 13: Dan Hicks

Your announcer in focus this week: Dan Hicks!

Jees, I still think of Hicks as a young announcer, but he has been with NBC Sports for 25 years now. 25! And I think that he is still immune to the snobbery of NBC Sports; it hasn't rubbed off on him. Imagine how smug you could be if you worked with Bryant Gumbel, Bob Costas, and Johnny Miller for 25 years....but Dan still seems down to earth.

Dan grew up in Arizona and started as a local anchor for a Tucson TV station; he moved to Atlanta to join CNN in the late 80s. He's one of the few guys we are profiling in this series that does NOT have experience at the ESPN mother ship. (Maybe that explains why he seems so well grounded on air). While at CNN, he was working aside Vince Cellini, Nick Charles and others on "CNN Sports Tonight". Remember that? CNN was going to be a full fledged competitor to ESPN - they had some serious people doing their Sports Tonight shows, and kicked off a 24-hour sports channel in the 90s - CNNSI - but that quickly fell apart.

Hicks then went to NBC in the early 90s and got into golf, NFL and NBA. He is primarily now known as the main host / play by play lead for the NBC golf broadcasts. Yes, working aside Johnny Miller 10 weeks out of the year. I like him as a golf lead, I know other readers of the blog hate him. I think this week is as good a week as any to recall Hicks' best line from his golf coverage - his call of the 72nd hole of the 2008 US Open. Poor Rocco....he deserved a major just for his performance as being Tiger's foil in this event.....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iFfCpvT_MV8

(You know, 20 years from now when we are all retired and can sit back and reminisce, will we say that the 2008 US Open ranks up there as one of the 5 best golf tournaments in our life? I mean, nothing will top the 86 Masters - but is the 08 US Open 2nd best? )

Hicks had a memorable 2008 - he led the swimming coverage at the Beijing Olympics. That was the year of the incredible US comeback in the 4x100 Freestyle relay - where Jason Lezak was our anchor and overcome an impossible deficit on the last leg to nip France at the wire. France? France was a swimming power?

I can't find the video and audio of Hicks' call - here's the audio....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jW3b7469UI

As for football, Hicks started doing games for NBC right after he started in 1992. Talk about jumping into the fire! He's been doing games since; he did the Chiefs/Colts playoff game in 2014 (the incredible Luck comeback/Andy Reid choke) - game here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQskgXwhKI4

He is now the lead Notre Dame football announcer, too, taking over from Tom Hammond.

The earlier Hicks calls I could find for a Browns telecast is this one, from 1992 - against the Chargers at home! 9 minutes of fun here - looking at this film is like looking at the first color movies made in the 1930s. The broadcast starts with Hicks nailing the pronunciation of one of our D-linemen, the great Pio Sangapugatele......


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q4XWRf2ubJM

(and who's his color announcer on this broadcast? That's right - the great Mr. Suzy Kolber himself, Joe Namath!)

And I have to share this - here's a highlight unearthed by the author of one of the great feeds in my timeline - Scott Dryden - this is from 1995. This is the NBC Open to the NFL games and there is our hero, Dan Hicks, with the Browns' nemesis, Bob Trumpy. Look at those AFC Central standings from 1995! Banner year..... I believe this was our last win that year until the season ender at home where we took apart the stadium.

https://twitter.com/twitter/statuses/934759644802764802

We all reminisce about CBS's great themes from the 80s and 90s - this was the dreck NBC gave us. The song - unmemorable. Ugh. (And I think we will be talking about Trumpy in future weeks).

Browns today are 14 point underdogs to a team playing in a soccer stadium. That pretty much represents the state of the franchise.

On to the games:

Atl 23, Min 20. I can't figure this game out. I do believe there is some home magic in the new stadium for the Falcons, and their D is getting better; can we trust Keenum or the Falcons?

Bal 24, Det 17. The Ravens are still desperate; the Lions have very little pass D so the Ravens should move the ball, and Bal's pass D should shut down Stafford.

NE 27, Buf 17. I think I have passed on better every single Patriots game this year. And - Julia Roberts best judges that decision from "Pretty Woman": "Mistake. Big Mistake".

SF 17, Chi 16. Look, I know bad football. I think the Bears are quitting on Fox and that regime is coming to an end; the Niners are still playing hard for Kyle and Jimmy G should provide a spark.

TB 30, GB 27. Tampa still has weapons in the air and should move the ball vs. the Pack's average D. Hundley will look good again against a bad Tampa D. Look for the over here.

Jax 23, Ind 13.  Watching these teams score will be a struggle. Should be at least one defensive score by the Jags here.

Mia 24, Den 17. Is it Trevor Simien this week? I just have no faith in anything Denver does anymore. Their pass D is getting worse; I think Miami will score enough here to win.

KC 23, NYJ 17. Andy Reid is too good of a coach to let this season slip away. I have to believe they find something here.

Ten 24, Hou 20. Yes, Houston has Savage - but Tennessee's pass D is awful, and Houston's pass rush should keep them close.

LAR 24, Az 20. The Cardinals have enough of a pass D to slow down the Rams, and I'm banking on Arizona's home field to keep them in the game.

Oak 27, NYG 10. Poor Geno. He just has no weapons to work with; how can he be properly evaluated as the future of the Giants?

NO 23, Car 16. Two good defenses here should keep this a close game all the way.

Phi 27, Sea 23. Seattle's pass D is awful; Philly should carve up their secondary. Seattle's home field can only take them so far.

Pit 28, Cin 17. Cincinnati just isn't very good - look at their wins..... Pittsburgh has trouble showing up for inferior opponents, but they will present vs. a divisional rival under the lights.

Best bets: 13 of them. Last week: 6-7-1; overall: 86-72-4
Min/Atl under 47.5
Bal -3
SF +3
SF/Chi under 41
TB +2.5
TB/GB over 45
Mia +2
KC -3
Hou +7
Az +7
Oak -8.5
Car/NO under 48
Pit -4.5

Supercontest picks: Last week: 3-1-1; overall: 36-22-2
Bal -2.5
SF +3
Mia +1.5
Az +7
Pit -5

Dec 1, 2017

NFL Week 13 Anagram

This week's anagram:

"Sick Hand!"

That's probably what our 9-year old Martin would say if he ever met JPP of the Giants...but rearrange these letter to form the name of what announcer?

Your clue: Hannah Storm!

Nov 26, 2017

NFL Week 12: Sam Rosen

Your week 12 announcer in focus: Sam Rosen!

Yes, it's rare that I include FOX announcers on here, since we have so few games on FOX. But there was one game in the past that sticks out with Rosen on the call - it was so good, Rosen is my favorite FOX announcer. Those readers out there that are Giants, Redskins, or Cowboys fans may disagree vehemently.

Rosen was born in Germany in 1947 and moved to Brooklyn when he was 2. He started following the Rangers early, and going to several Rangers games when he was young. It sounds like from youth he knew what he wanted to do - be a sports broadcaster for a New York team. He went to CCNY for college and started at ESPN in 1979.

It says he broadcasted college baseball, college wrestling, ping pong, Australian Rules football, and the NASL. Remember those days? ESPN would have 10 hours of Australian Rules Football programming from 1979 until about 1985. I always wanted that white suit with the hat to signal a partially good or fully good try. One hand or two?


Rosen became the Rangers' full time play-by-play announcer for the New York Rangers in 1984. He's still on the job there after 33 years, and (I guess) is still considered an icon in New York. For the first 20 years or so, he was paired in the booth with John Davidson, the ex-goalie for the Rangers. Davidson left the booth to go into the front offices for the Blues and then to America's favorite team, the Blue Jackets.

Rosen has his signature call when the Rangers score on the power play - "It's a power play goal!" The inflection makes the signature; here's a link of all his power play goal calls from a recent season.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nHp6hBE5E4M

For any Rangers fan, the highlight of their history is 1994, when they won the Stanley Cup for the first time in 54 years. I was a big NHL fan at that time - even going to a NHL game in Cleveland that season. (Thanks, Steve!). Here's his call of the final 2 seconds of Game 7, when the Rangers won the Cup:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wzq2AhbXSeY

(An even bigger moment was in Game 4, when Richter stopped Pavel Bure on a penalty shot in the finals....)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulUFtK2xLnY

Rosen has been used by FOX for NFL games since the 90s, and he has consistently been on the 3rd or 4th string broadcast team. The list of color announcers he has worked with - wow, this is a cornucopia of B-list NFL players/coaches..... ready?

Ray Bentley
Jerry Glanville
Brady Quinn
Bill Maas
Brian Billick
Chad Pennington

Yikes!

There was a game during that magical 2007 Browns season that no one remembers....the Browns, 4-4, were hosting the Seahawks, 5-3 and the favorites in the NFC. This was at 4 pm; No one watched this games because the CBS game at the same time was the Patriots-Colts, where the undefeated Patriots went to Indy to play Manning; that game was a classic, with the Pats keeping their perfect season alive with a comeback vs. the Colts.

Our game was a good one; we ended up winning 33-30 in overtime to start our push in the second half. Rosen was on the call and he was into the flow of the game perfectly. If there was a FOX announcer to do a Browns game, it was him.
Sadly, I can't find his calls for the game (it used to be there on YouTube), but here's a recap of that game.....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSLa4dott3s&t=3s

Hopefully Rosen will get a more steady partner for his last few years at FOX. Well hell, if Dick Stockton is still doing games now, maybe Rosen has a good 15 years left....

On to the games....

Atl 31, TB 20. I think Fitzpatrick has brought the Bucs offense to life a bit; it would not surprise me to see the Falcons lose this game after that dramatic win last week.

Ind 27, Ten 20. Ind off bye, Ten off extra rest. I think the Colts play much better in the dome, and the Titans' D does not scare me. The Titans are overrated.

KC 27, Buf 13. Just don't think the Bills have enough firepower to take advantage of the Chiefs bad D. And who knows how their locker room is after last week.

NE 27, Mia 10. Who knows. Have to believe that Miami will be somewhat shut down, and don't think the Pats will run up the score.

Car 23, NYJ 13. The Panthers need every game they can get to stay alive in the NFC, and Olsen is back. The Jets may be sliding downward after their surprising start. 10 pts. vs Tampa???

Phi 31, Chi 16. When will the Eagles have a week off? So impressed by the Eagles D as well; I can't trust Chicago right now, and still can't back the Eagles on that large spread.

Sea 28, SF 13. What's the Seahawks weakness? The secondary. I don't see the Niners taking advantage of that. Seattle is desperate and knws they can't take SF for granted.

NO 20, LAR 17. This game will be a run fest; both teams have great pass D. I just think the Saints are a more complete team right now.

Az 16, Jax 13. Yes, I know, Gabbert. But the offense for the Jaguars is soooooo conservative, and Arizona's run D is decent. If the Cards just don't turn the ball over.......

Den 24, Oak 20. The Raiders are in free fall, and I think the firing of the offensive coordinator (McCoy) by Denver will re-energize the offense. But Jesus, Brock, you are bad.

Pit 27, GB 10. Should be a snoozefest; Pit won't show much and do just the minimal things to win. And I can't see Hundley taking that much advantage of it.

Bal 23, Hou 10. How many points will the Ravens score on D? 10? 14? Look what they did in Lambeau....now Savage comes to Baltimore in a prime time game?

Best bets: 14 of them. Last week: 6-6; overall: 80-65-3
TB/Atl over 47.5
Ind +3
KC -9.5
KC/Buf under 46.5
Mia/NE under 48
Car -5.5
Sea +6.5
NO +2
NO/LAR under 53.5
Az +4.5
Az/Jax under 38
Den +4.5
GB/Pit under 43
Bal -7

Supercontest: last week: 2-3; overall: 33-21-1
Ind +3
Car -4.5
Sea -6.5
Az +5.5
Bal -7







Nov 25, 2017

NFL Week 12 Anagram

Happy Thanksgiving! Your week 12 anagram:

"Near Moss!"

That's what is usually said to me in March after I hit my 3rd shot on
Southern Highlands' 9th hole, a par 5 with the green protected by a large lake. I never hit a good approach into there - and the ball either end up 50' above the hole on the 18th green or rolls down the hill towards the lake.

Oh yes - Vegas planning for 2018 is beginning!

Your non-Browns clue this week: the curse of 1940!


Nov 19, 2017

NFL Week 11: Kevin Harlan


Our NFL Announcer in focus this week: Kevin Harlan!

Kevin is a native Wisconsiner, and his first job in broadcasting was being the play-by-play voice of the Kansas City Kings in the early 80s. He did not make the move to Sacramento, however. He stayed in the Midwest and did Jayhawks game, Chiefs radio, and then the T-wolves. Kevin started doing national TV NFL games in 1991 for NBC - where I'm sure he did his share of Browns games - and then Fox in the mid 90s.

Kevin then moved to Turner sports in 1996 and has been with Turner/CBS ever since. Most people know him for his NBA work - he has a few classic catch lines that we all know:
"Right between the eyes"
"With no regard for Human life!"

Here's a sample of his best NBA lines....yes, I could listen to the LeBron one all day....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Y0T6k2k90w

He then got into NFL, doing some games for CBS as the 4th or 5th announcing team. His current responsibilities now are focused on radio, as he is the lead radio announcer for MNF and has done a few Super Bowls on radio for Westwood One. The most famous moment on radio for Kevin in the NFL has to be the fan on the field during a forgettable Rams/49ers game - the opener last year in the late Monday night game. Here's the radio call of the idiot on the field. How does it take them so long to corral this person?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBnTJ-L0EMI


"Somebody stop him! That's the most exciting thing that happened tonight!"

Of course, since he is with CBS, and he loves basketball, Kevin is a new staple presence on NCAA Tournament broadcasts. I think he is now the #3 team behind Jimmy N and Uncle Verne; he is in the top 4 as he does the regional semis and finals for CBS. His best moment must have been painful for him personally - 2010, Northern Iowa vs. Kansas. Kansas, the #1 overall seed playing #9 seed Northern Iowa. I remember exactly where I was watching this; I was just outside the poker room at the Mirage watching the TVs trying to stop Northern Iowa from choking this away...... and then Ali Farokmanesh took things into his own hands.

This - and TJ Sorretine's shot - are the 2 most ballsy shots I have even seen in an NCAA tourney....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SzUFz-58PPA

(Go to the 1:20 mark for the sequence and the shot)

(wow ... and now I just find out that Harlan called the Weber State - N Carolina game back in 1998 with Harold "The Show" Arceneaux leading Weber....)

Somehow, two of the best fakes I have seen the Browns execute over the last 10 years came with Kevin on the call. First - here's the best rushing attempt by the Browns this decade, by #2...no, not Johnny Manziel - it's Reggie Hodges!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZFLUfpXU-KA

(How does he not score here? How many so-called "blockers" are downfield doing nothing?)

And how about the quote " How about that game plan by Eric Mangini!" .... my God....

And - in 2013, we played the Vikings right after the Richardson trade. No one gave us a chance...and then this fake field goal to Jordan Cameron. Remember when he was going to be a star?

(Go to the 6:15 mark)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PoxxXqS_sDY

Anyway - today's game; Tashaun Gibson says the Jaguars will beat us 40-0. Who am I to argue otherwise? Will I watch any of this game?

On to the games:

Chi 24, Det 16. Det showed nothing against the Browns' run last week; I think this is a perfect matchup for the Lions.

Bal 20, GB 17 . Who in the world can I trust here? Huntley, going against the Ravens D? Or the Ravens absolutely abysmal O? I'll pass.

Hou 20, Az 16.  I think Houston still has some strength on D; their weakness in the secondary won't be exposed by Blaine Gabbert....will it?

Min 26, LAR 23. Should be a fun game to watch. Not sure how well the Rams will play against a quality opponent.

NO 27, Was 16. Boy, this looks too easy on paper. I just like the Saints D too much and believe they will contain the Redskins O.

KC 27, NYG 20. KC is not good defensively and the Giants should score some points. Are they motivated at all on defense to show up and hold the Chiefs to less than 30? I hope so....

TB 30, Mia 26. I'm done waiting for Cutler to play well....

LAC 23, Buf 16. Curious move to bench Taylor by the Bills. But I can't back the Chargers as this big of a favorite.

Den 20, Cin 10. Third road game in a row for the Bengals. I think they are ready to pack it in. The Bengals main offensive weapons are in the running game - and that's what Denver excels at stopping.

NE 31, Oak 23. I'd be worried about the backdoor if I were Patriots backers. Still think a team with a good passing attack can score on this team.

Phi 30, Dal 24. A desperate Cowbys team usually means lots of points....

Sea 27, Atl 16. I know Seattle has lost a lot in their secondary. But I've seen Atlanta enough to know I can't trust them on the road and Seattle's home magic (and Wilson) will find a way.

Best bets: 12 of them. Last week: 6-8; overall: 74-59-3
Chi +3
Hou -2
LAR/Min over 45.5
NO -7.5
Was/NO under 52
NYG +10
TB pk
TB/Mia over 42.5
Den -2.5
Cin/Den under 38.5
Phi/Dal over 48
Sea -2

Supercontest picks: Last week: 3-2; overall: 31-18-1
Chi +2.5
Hou pk
NYG +10.5
Den -2.5
Sea -2.5

 





Nov 18, 2017

Week 11 Anagram

Here's your week 11 anagram:

Hark! Vine! LAN!

This may be what a Napa Valley visitor would exclaim upon seeing that his wireless isn't working and he has to get bets in for the 4 pm College Basketball games * - but rearrange these letters to form what NFLannouncer?

Your Browns related clue: Fakes!