Sports fans in Cleveland will settle for a championship any way they can get it.
Even if it comes by way of the city’s NBA team as opposed to their beloved NFL Browns.
Even if it comes via the help of the greatest player in the world, who several years back went on national television and publicly embarrassed the region when he took his ball and won titles elsewhere.
But again, make no mistake, you take the sweet taste of success any way you can get it.
The passing of former Oakland Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler at the age of 69 is likely to revive old debates over The Snake’s Pro Football Hall of Fame worthiness.
There’s room for argument on both sides of the table. I mean, the Hall’s selection committee named Stabler a second-team member of its All-Decade Team of the 1970s, despite 24 interceptions thrown in 1975 and 30 in 1978. They were clearly impressed once upon a time.
Stabler finished his 15-year NFL career (11 as a starter with three teams) in the shadows of contemporaries such as Terry Bradshaw, Roger Staubach, Bob Griese and Fran Tarkenton, each immortalized in Canton, Ohio.
But what about Kenny? He led Oakland to a 69-26-1 regular season record in the 1970s and finished with 96 wins in all after wrapping up a career with the Houston Oilers and lowly New Orleans Saints.
Waynes and Gordon starred on opposite sides of the ball at Bradford High School in Kenosha, Wis., home of Heisman Trophy winner Alan Ameche of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and former NBA All Star Nick Van Exel.
The Big Ten rivals are the first set of high school teammates to earn such a distinction since Texas cornerback Bryant Westbrook was drafted No. 5 overall by the Detroit Lions and Nebraska cornerback Michael Booker went No. 11 overall to the Atlanta Falcons. Westbrook and Booker played together at El Camino High School in Oceanside, Calif.
When news broke this week accusing the former University of Nebraska, National Football League, NFL Europe, and Canadian Football League running back of murdering a cellmate, you’d have been hard-pressed to find anyone surprised at such allegations.
Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz and Craig Biggio each were named to the Baseball Hall of Fame this week despite the arrogance of the very people that have covered the sport over the years. The Pro Football Hall of Fame also announced the 15 finalists for its Class of 2015, which will be finalized on Jan. 31.
The regular season is in the books and the National Football League’s Wild Card weekend will be here before we know it. Or in other words, before we can fully recover from our New Year’s festivities.
The New England Patriots (12-4) and Denver Broncos (12-4) finished the regular season by claiming the top spots in the AFC while the Seattle Seahawks (12-4) and Green Bay Packers (12-4) hold those same positions in the NFC.
On Saturday it’s Arizona at Carolina and Baltimore at Pittsburgh followed by Cincinnati at Indianapolis and Detroit at Dallas on Sunday in matchups that’ll advance winners to the divisional round.
Below is a breakdown of the wild card games this weekend. My predictions are included at the conclusion of each summary.
The slim postseason chances the Cleveland Browns still have now rest solely on the shoulders of rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel, who will get his first NFL start Sunday in place of Brian Hoyer against the Cincinnati Bengals. Manziel will become the 21st different starting quarterback for the Browns since the franchise returned to the league in 1999.
I talked to Waiting For Next Year co-founder Scott Sargent on Saturday about the impact Manziel may have on the franchise over the final three weeks of the season and beyond. We also attempted to pinpoint which of the previous 20 starters at quarterback are most beloved by Browns fans. The only problem: there’s just not too many good ones to choose from.
Just seven days after being born Faine was adopted by parents who provided stability for a lifetime, ensuring he’d never be shuffled between foster homes throughout his childhood.
After a four-year career as a student-athlete at Notre Dame, the 2003 NFL Draft pick (21st overall) embarked on a 10-year professional playing career. Today he helps kids aging out of the foster care system by giving them a chance to transition positively into adulthood at The Faine House, which opened its doors a little more than a year ago.
Faine joined the show Saturday morning to talk about The Faine House and his playing days at Seminole High School in Sanford, Fla., with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, and in the National Football League while with the Cleveland Browns, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Cincinnati Bengals.
Backup quarterback Nick Montana had a chance to make his mark under center for Tulane while in Orlando as his hall of fame dad watched from the stands against UCF.
Joe Montana is known for taking part in thrilling finishes as a quarterback in college at Notre Dame and in the NFL while with the San Francisco 49ers. Nick is more likely to be remembered for his mishaps on Saturday, which included errant passes and spiking the ball on fourth down with seconds remaining before halftime of the Green Wave’s 20-13 loss to the Knights.
Montana finished 18 of 42 passing for 147 yards and two interceptions. Many of his passes fell out of the reach of his intended receivers or failed to travel far enough to move the chains. Twice in the fourth quarter Tulane took possession with the chance to tie the game, only to fall short despite the Green Wave defense forcing four turnovers in the loss.
“We just didn’t take advantage of some of the turnovers our defense gave us,” Tulane coach Curtis Johnson said. “We’ve got to get to the point where, offensively, we can make touchdowns or field goals or something when they give us the ball way down there.”
The Green Wave defense has recorded at least one takeaway in 16-straight games and in 31 of their last 32 outings.
It was the second-straight backup quarterback to enter Bright House Networks Stadium. The result was no different for the Knights the last time around.
On Saturday Chris Vazquez and I talked about Major League Baseball’s postseason as well as upcoming college football and National Football League games. Vazquez also provided his weekly picks for fantasy football players and Baltimore Orioles fan Ryan McCall joined us to talk about his visit to Camden Yards on Friday.
On Saturday I spent some time talking to Charlie Bernstein of Football Insiders about a number of topics from around the National Football League. Bernstein shared his thoughts on the state of NFL teams in Florida, gave his opinion on how Blake Bortles and Teddy Bridgewater may fare as they make their first professional starts on Sunday, and provided insight on the current unbeaten teams in the league.
The only running back worth a first round pick in the 1990 NFL Draft turned out to be Emmitt Smith. At No. 17 overall.
Blair Thomas (RB, New York Jets) 1990 Topps Traded rookie card – No. 34T
Despite being the second selection in the draft out of Penn State, by the New York Jets, Blair Thomas was outdone in the National Football League by nearly every contemporary picked after him. His pedestrian 2,236 yards rushing and seven touchdowns (533 carries) over six years trails a number of other moderately memorable guys, even some worth remembering. Terry Allen was taken by Minnesota in the 9th round before going on to rush for 8,614 yards and 73 TDs. Chris Warren, selected in the 4th round by Seattle, rushed for 7,696 yards and 52 TDs.
Maybe Thomas would’ve been better off with a different team. He entered the league at the same time as New York’s first-year head coach Bruce Coslet, who would last just as long with the Jets as Thomas did before going on to finish his NFL career with a worthless 47-77 record over nine years. It’s worth mentioning that Coslet never knew a season better than 8-8 while on the sideline with either the Jets or Cincinnati Bengals.
Thomas rushed for just 2,009 yards (468 carries) and five touchdowns for the Jets from 1990-93. He carried the ball at least 15 times in a game only eight times during that stretch and rushed for 100 yards or more just two times. Career highlights include 20 carries for 100 yards in a loss to the New England Patriots in his fourth career game, and then going for a career-high 125 yards on 27 carries against the Chicago Bears just four games into his second season.
The Carnahan Chronicles weekly radio show on AM 740 The Game got back up and running this week with a number of topics from the world of football, soccer and baseball.
Producer Chris Vazquez joined in on the conversation about the Jameis Winston suspension and college football weekend, along with recent injuries in the National Football League. We also talked about the injury to Giancarlo Stanton and the postseason races in Major League Baseball after answering a call from Austin about the Orlando City Soccer Club interview with Dennis Chin.