Tag Archives: Oprah Winfrey

NFL17 Pre-Play: Nobody Bullied the Beav and No One Needles the NFL, Kaep Krew

9 Aug

If you’re an NFL fan or root for Colin Kaepernick, not always mutually exclusive mental states, and feed those foibles by perusing online sport sites, you’ll know it has become common in recent years for certain players to have developed a cult-like following amongst the media, junior scribes, in particular. Individually, five names have received more press than probably every player combined, excepting Broadway Joe, of course, since the National went on-wire in 1920:

1) Johnny Manziel
2) Tim Tebow
3) Michael Sam
4) Colin Kaepernick
5) Richard Sherman

At this posting only one of the five, Sherman, has a job with our nation’s new national pastime (When a home run derby is your showcase event of the season, there’s big trouble) and soon to become international funfest (See; London).

Of the other four, it’s possible Manziel and Kaepernick could get a call for a 2017 quarterback tryout as injuries begin to mount in the League on commencement of training camps and contact. But that’s becoming more doubtful as the recent rapid-signing in Miami of free-agent QB Jay Cutler and longer-than-expected list of somewhat suspect number (#) ones (Kessler (CLE), McCown (NYJ), Hoyer (SF), Taylor (BUF), Glennon (CHI), Siemian (DEN), Savage (HOU)) penciled-in for 2017 strongly suggests about both their desirability.

For Tebow, who last played with the Jets in 2012, the chance of an NFL return is nearly nil. Tim’s rather particular (prideful), shunning CFL and tight-end talk, a spot for which he was tailor-made. Same holds true for Sam (nil) who never made a roster after being drafted late in 2014 (7 / 249), having two tryouts (STL / DAL), an invite to a combine and a brief suit-up with Montreal (CFL). Mike does, for some reason, have his own page at PFR.com, sans the Alouettes.

None of those deactivated states has stopped certain media from alternatively appeasing (groupies) or depressing (fans of sport) readers with a steady stream of stories seemingly designed to persuade, cajole or bully the League, its owners and neutral fans into giving three of the four another shot at the big time.

But “Eddie Haskell” couldn’t bully “Beaver Cleaver,” Reid & Pelosi couldn’t bully Dan Snyder, his Washington Redskins and the American Indian rank & file (See; WP “9 of 10” poll (2016)) and nobody bullies the NFL to decide who it hires and who it doesn’t. An exception: Ray Rice and women’s advocacy. The ex-Raven’s rehab appears real but his stigma sticks: Video is video, thanks to TMZ (ugh).

If you think that’s a poor analogy, then you never knew Leave It to Beaver (1957-63). It’s impact on Americana made Vince Lombardi’s power sweep look almost happenstance. And if you don’t know the sweep (Kramer – Gregg) you’d best bone up. Start in State of Ohio, then find George Halas (IL) and go from there.

Michael Sam

When Sam told the nation of his homosexual orientation just prior to the 2014 NFL draft, likely hoping to forestall his stock drop to a level so low he feared being undrafted entirely, his act was lauded by captured media as socially significant. It might have been more accurately called a self-serving act of leverage. A League that would appear unwelcoming to the first openly gay pro football player, college skill-set aside, might suffer a consumer backlash, so the Suits & Skirts may’ve thunk. Sam gets the call late from a Rams club seeking a re-location vote, then a tryout from affable Jerry Jones who is always looking for new renters (AT&T). The NFL looked open-minded, Sam got his cup o’ Gatorade® and everybody felt a little cheated.

Colin Kaepernick

Sherman recently claimed Kaepernick is being blackballed on his race. But that won’t fly. The NFL’s composition is overwhelmingly African-American. Others claim jingoism is motivating CK’s critics, arising from what appeared an anthem protest on police brutality, suspiciously timed as the former 49er’s starter-string in San Francisco looked to’ve run out. But America was born on protest (Stamp Act 1765). Refusing to stand at attention for the flag ceremony is disfavored but not necessarily offensive to most citizens of these United States. What owners may’ve found abhorrent (Tuesday nite ESPN reports Giants’ owner John Mara likes the Milwaukee-native to suit-up somewhere in the NFL for 2017) were Colin’s racist white pig socks. It doesn’t have to be a forgiveable act but until Kaepernick takes responsibility, even a re-signing won’t make him legitimate.

What if nobody comes calling from the NFL, where does Colin go from there? Oprah? That’d be nice, for him, when he and his co-author get a book done (I don’t know Dick’s writing skills but he does like a by-line (See; SI.com)). And believing in something (faith) is not enough. Wisdom, and no small amount of courage, do both matter. Protest can be passionate, or it can be theater if it lacks heart & soul (truth). And he can forget about autograph shows, they’re pro-diversity and patriotic, but the NBA célébrité will always be welcoming.

John Manziel

Johnny Football: He never did earn that moniker. Jon thought talent was the trick. So did Todd Marinovich, “Robo-QB.” He could matriculate in a typhoon but made drugs his love. Manziel could’ve been the greatest college quarterback in history but made booze his squeeze. We don’t really know anything’s changed at this posting. For a run-QB who never learned to take hits in the pocket, THE pro skill, Johnny Skittles can’t afford to have fun being stupid any longer. Like Colin, Jon never respected the game, or the business. That won’t be tolerated, not by owners, players, coaches, real fans or the almighty Sponsors.

Tim Tebow

It’s curious, Tim may be the only NFL signal-caller to have, in his one near-full campaign under center (2014 Denver), compiled a better than .500 record (7-4), led the most captivating team win-streak in recent memory (6-0), won a road playoff game (@ Pittsburgh) on a GWD touchdown strike, yet, the next season, be ungraciously traded away (Jets) where, for one season, he finished his brief career in a non-QB job as a decoy flanker-back (?). Curious, indeed.

Tebow’s fandom is still vast, kept current with his baseball venture in the Mets minors, one most likely to end in the same fashion to that of his pro football career when (if) on promotion he meets that “wicked” major league curveball, known to derail & dash many a career (See; Bull Durham (88)).

Most scribes never did subscribe to the Book of Timbo, hence, never did promote his cause for return. Bart Simpson just won’t rock to Christian hip-hop. Like all run-QBs, Tim’s skill-set proved limited (47.9 C%). But other wily field generals have too relied heavily on stoking emotional fires to wins & careers, Billy Kilmer comes to mind (1967: 10g, 47.5%, 0-4, 6t-11i (16y)), and Tim, had he been NFL retained, would’ve most likely seen his skill-set progress at least in the manner of fellow flashman CK: Never top tier (Brady / Moon) but a sufficiency to roster. And then nobody put fans in the seats, stadium and home, like Tebow did. The reality for the NFL is that flash-QB, with all his shortcomings (rabbit, RIF-fail), is here to stay, given his popularity in college by great success (titles / Heismans) and facilitator of coach-lite: Just give the Kid the ball and count the wins.

Steven Keys
NFL HunchLine
Photo Credit: NFL-wikiproject, Ixnay-Beao; C.Kaepernick, wc.cca, 10.27.13, D.Hartwig; M.Sam, wc, ED.Drost, 8.23.14; Starlito-T.Tebow-L.Garrett, wc, 11.1.12; J.Manziel, Kyle-Field, wc, shutterbug459, 10.20.12; J.Marshall, Topps, 1970.
Posted: 8.9.17 @ 12:39a EST, edit 8.10; Copyright © 2017


NFL16: $ales $oar, NFL Evades and No Forward Progress in Kaep Krusade

9 Sep

Colin Kaepernick’s Sit n’ Stew over his national anthem and white police officers is a big hit with some NFL jersey buyers (‘You’re not gettin’ it until Christmas, you know that, right?) but leaves him and his team about 9 yards shy of 1st & 10 with a playbook long on smack and short on answers.

— — —

America the democracy. That’s the game-plan, as long as Diebold® does its duty and those Electoral Collegians behave themselves. In truth, what we’ve really become is a consumerocracy. Oh…my…god.

China’s gaining ground on the consumer front but U.S.A. still holds commanding lead in the drive to grab (merchandise), gobble (gluten) and guzzle (HFCS & oil) like there’s no tomorrow. Course, if we don’t keep buying we can say bye-bye to the economy and “tomorrow” may be “another day” we just assume skip.

Some set-up, eh, buy or die? I can see it now, AT&T’s new ad campaign: ‘”(We’ve made you) an offer (you) can’t refuse,” and have a nice day.’

money-drawbag-2006-johnny-automatic-wc-thm*The Powers-that-be can chisel away at our liberties in a post-9.11 State of Alert and have consumers dancing on a string and we barely make a peep. But take away our cruise package, Big Gulp® and Facebook feed and watch the streets fill up faster than a 6am express lane.

An athlete who had been an NFL player of some note, though, appeared headed for a reserve role, makes a public-gesture-short-on-a-few-facts to purportedly bring attention, not to himself (oh-no), but to what he claims is a serious and pervasive national wrong (police misdeed), and the biggest societal response is a smattering of jock-joinder (Megan Rapinoe, Brandon Marshall, etc.) and correlating spike in sales of his NFL jersey, vaulting it to the treasured #1 spot (“Colin..Jersey“ / nymag.com / 9.7.16 / A.Raymond).

In Colin Kaepernick’s world, such a perch might just be more esteemed than the triple crown: An MVP, Super Bowl ring and a ♫ hip-hop ♫ chart-topper. Top it off with the Oprah interview and the man’s made.

But even as Kaep Krusader’s jersey likeness makes appearances at events and gatherings around the nation in coming months as the glitter garb, the mass of buyers probably won’t be taking to the streets in furtherance of his purported purpose (awareness & change), not if it interferes with The Simpsons schedule or a Walking Dead marathon.

kaep-10-27-13-wc-cca-d-hartwig-thumbThere are statements, then there are priorities. It’s 2016.

The act itself, Colin’s refusal to stand in a pre-season ceremony (v GB (8.26)) in allegiance with his nation’s flag and anthem in Key‘s Star-Spangled Banner, a hopeful gesture in show of patriotism, camaraderie and conformity, has been on rare occasion displayed by athletes in the past in one like form or another.

It was the timing and the man behind the gesture that caught most by surprise.

And it’s what has transpired since that opening act that has many passing a critical judgment on Mr. Krusader.

Being a believer in that Anglo-American tradition known as due process (Magna Carta (1215)), I felt obliged to give the would-be social advocate a fair chance to make his case. Push-back on forced conformity has its place. If I’m ever in a public arena where God Bless America gets amplified in snub of another bedrocker in the principle which separates that cantankerous twosome of church and state, watch this fan pull a Keys Krusade of his own, i.e., remain seated.

In that initial stage there was no Trump-like, knee-jerk reaction (love it or leave it) to Kaepernick’s sit-down strike from this quarter. Like it or not, unless it’s mean-spirited or clearly self-serving, we can all afford to lend an ear to hear-out the protestor, for a time. We’re a democracy, right? Right.

Time’s up.

I suspected self-service and politics were Colin’s true motives given the initial form of protest and timing, but wondered if something constructive, more hopeful might come from it. “(Prejudice) is forever busy and needs feeding.”

Then came the mock-socks and Krude Krusader exposed himself as a fraud.

.........Goodell.8.30.12.wc.2.9m.SSG.T.Wade.USMAThe socks took stage in 49ers final pre-season game in San Diego, depicting cartoon police figures as what appeared only white (pink) colored swine. Racist?

Anyone with a sincere beef on local or State police misdeed, and actionable cases do exist, need look no further than the U.S. Justice Department. President Obama’s enforcement arm oversees and is broadly empowered to intervene on any set of facts that even remotely relates to racial injustice in America.

All Kaepernick has achieved in substance from his juvenile display in petulant finger-point and high drama that singles out one profession, one race, a show that devolved into mean-spiritedness (mock-socks), is to administer one big booster shot to one man’s celebrity, a voting sector looking to pass ‘the buck’ of blame (Harry‘d nod ‘no‘), a ready platform for a smattering of jock-joinders (Rapinoe), claimed-victims who’ve more to say (Marshall, etc.) and then those who’d profit from Nike jersey sales and the like.

The Krudesader will be milking this bovine for as long as it gives juice. Probably about as long as Tim Tebow and his sponsors (Mets, etc.) will be milking his Heisman for all it‘s worth. But at least Timbo’s on his feet and giving it the old college try, I’ll give him that much.

For the NFL’s part, they’re apparently cool with Colin (“Roger Goodell“ / usatoday.com / 9.7). It took Roger Goodell and his team of law review legal eagles two weeks to decide on the appeasement approach to CK’s passion play.

goodell-wc-cca-7-10-08-sgt-b-delvecchio-afgh-616kI know of no other private enterprise that does more to encourage racial harmony and career opportunity for blacks and other minorities than does the NFL, which might explain the tepid, tardy response.

The Commissioner, as well as DeMaurice Smith (NFLPA) and his lawyers, could have penned a joint-statement that found Colin’s complaint too narrowly worded (white police), krude (socks), cuts too broad a swath (v. patriotism) and yet still respected his right to non-conformity. As reported, CBA does not require stand-at-attention.

Instead, the League and union, who have a close relationship with the U.S. military, took a page out of Ms. Clinton’s playbook and chose to tread lightly.

Most observers likely see Kaep in one of two lights: He fumbled on the play and then laughed about it (mock-socks), or, he ran it in for TD. No fence-sitting.

Oddly, even had Goodell come out in complete support of Kaepernick’s sit ‘n stew and the socks, supporters of the reserve signal-caller would most certainly still believe the Commissioner to be the devil. It is what it is, “a rose is a rose,” racism, from whichever direction it emanates (mock-socks), is still racism.

And don’t expect Kaep & Co. to make a call for consumer boycotts or anything weighty that would require self-sacrifice in their own top income sources or the buying public’s discretionaries department, though, it does appear others are forcing the issue a bit in that Mr. Marshall has reportedly been dropped as a spokesman by the Air Academy Federal Credit Union (“Broncos LB” / nbcsports / 9.9.16 / J.Alper). A decision to Brandon’s displeasure, no doubt, but guessing AAFCU is not his bread n’ butter account. Will the Krude Krowd see that severance and raise the stakes? Time will tell.

Above all, Colin, like Smith, Raja and Dick Sherman too, hold this truth to be self-evident: All consumers are created equal and endowed with an unalienable right to purchase without unreasonable restriction. On that, they all agree.

......NFL-symbol.wikiproject.6kbSteven Keys
NFL HunchLine
Photo credit: C.Kaepernick, wc.cca, Aukirk, 2.3.13; R.Goodell-soldier; 7.10.8, wc, Sgt.B.DelVecchio, Afghan; money-counting, J.Belmonte, 2004, wc; Money-drawbag, wc, 2006, Johnny-Automatic; Kaepernick, wc, 10.27.13, D.Hartwig; Goodell, wc, 8.30.12, SSG, T.Wade; R.Goodell-soldier; 7.10.8, wc, Sgt.B.DelVecchio, Afghan; Moneybags-stacks, wc, 1921, SRS, BauerLineInc; NFL-symbol, wikiproject
Posted: 9.9.16 @ 6:08pm, edit 9.10 @ 12:03am; Copyright © 2016

“Thanks a Bunch!:” Why We Love the NFL

7 Sep

While the amateurs (FBS) kicked-off their season Thursday night, the pros will begin their long procession towards Super Bowl 50 (Santa Clara (2.7)), a journey most football faithful hold as near & dear to their hearts as any pilgrimage, the following Thursday night (9.10) when the Steelers travel to Foxborough to face,…well, the face of the NFL, a beaming Tom Brady and his defending champion Patriots in the League opener.

The Patriots starry QB cleared customs, courtesy of Federal District Court Judge Dick Berman (SDNY) who vacated NFL’s 4-game susp’n of the signal-caller for what appears due process (“notice”) violations in the Deflategate matter. The League appealed the ruling but don‘t be so sure Roger Goodell is singing the blues. Privately, he may be slightly relieved ‘the face’ will start the season.

Bad Spot

More important than Deflategate doings was a suspiciously growing chorus of complaints this summer from NFL media & bloggers concerning validity of the exhibition slate.

Suspicious because the value of NFL’s pre-season has always been discernable by most everyone concerned. Now all of a sudden some are suggesting it be halved (2g), which would, ta-dah, make room for an 18g season.

Not only does the P/S afford needed time for making hard choices in roster cut & keep but it also gives football ravenous fans a period of relaxation to watch & learn about the new team as it takes shape and ease into the upcoming season.

Fans haven’t been complaining, nor players or coaches, not so you’d notice.

Baseball has an extended spring training that spans February – March.

And with all the time and attention we now devote to the college draft, before, during and after the overblown event, you’d think those who do most the blowing (media) would afford these young draftees all the time necessary to acclimate to their new surroundings and enhance chances of making the roster. You’d think.

Why We’re Ga-Ga Over the NFL

1) It’s ain’t brat-ball (MLB)

Baseball’s great, it’s our national pastime born professionally in the heartland (Chicago 1876 (NL) & 1901 (AL)). But today’s player behaves more like a school-boy than a man in spikes and I’m not so sure the youngins like it that way.

Short-tempers, long beards, drag-pantalones in summer heat, watercooler – shave-cream-pie-in-the face hijinx, home-plate bunny-hop jubilees for every game-winning hit and no-no pajama parties (Cubs) are all giving the game of Koufax, Mantle, Perez and Mays a very odd feel.

The NFL can be short on maturity itself to be sure but footballers seem, on the whole, to pride themselves on being a pro. The PED use, it’s still an issue.

2) The place to be

Let’s face it, today’s standard in fun & frivolity isn’t what’s good but rather what’s trending. That’s world-wide, thanks to the internet. And nothing trends as virally in the States like the NFL which, from September to January, plays bigger than Oprah (Super Soul Sunday) and maybe even Jesus (gulp). John Lennon might’ve agreed and were he alive today the Liverpoolian turned New Yorker very well could’ve been a Jets fan (See; underdog).

3) More stars than the Milky Way

Milky Way is a whole lotta’ hyperbole (and creamy, delicious goodness by Mars®, if you can look past the HFCS, hydrogenated palm oil and gluten (See; milkywaybar.com)), but it’s safe to say that there are more nationally recognized NFL players than the other three majors combined. You’ve got half a dozen in NHL and NBA each, maybe ten in MLB. In total their number still will likely fall short of the illuminated NFL line-up.

4) Showing constitution

No issue in sport today screams for exactitude like the crafted controversy surrounding the Washington Redskins’ 80-year old moniker. It’s a campaign that rose out of virtual anonymity before 2012 when Nike began flexing it’s merchandise muscle in performance of it’s terms under NFL contract and has been taken up as a cause by a malleable media and political sect that prior to 2012 had not made a nary a peep in protest.

The battle over it’s existence is waged on two fronts: the media and federal court where the last round went to opponents when a District Court ordered cancellation of the logo‘s trademark registrations (7.8). While the war being waged by the 4th branch to have the Redskins name removed is clearly a contrived effort, given it’s timing, Washington owner Dan Snyder, his peers, Commissioner Goodell, NFL sponsors and, as it appears, the mass of NFL fandom remain loyal to it’s retention, seeing the effort at it’s removal as largely insincere, bully-like and hypocritical by those who‘ve only recently claimed offense at the maligned moniker.

Choosing democracy over oligarchy (dictionary & media boards of editors, tribal elite, political strong-arming (P&TO)) and once and for all determining a Redskins definition through ballots cast by those majorities in tribal and non-tribal communities across the land seems at this stage the only just, sensible route to pursue.

5) Roger Goodell

Seems an odd time to be naming Roger as a reason why fans love the League, with the Commissioner once again licking his wounds after suffering another legal defeat (Brady – NFLPA) and the media piling-on in hopes of ousting the besieged potentate.

But in fact, I’d not be straying too far out on that proverbial limb in presuming that all the owners, most of the players, every sponsor (PepsiCo) and a super majority of fans are A-okay with Goodell and his efforts to keep the game fun, fair, reasonably safe and current.

The man from Jamestown, New York has made his missteps to be sure and the greed he feeds is not lost on this writer, but then, if he’d not made a few boo-boos he most certainly wouldn’t be doing his job, an undertaking that goes beyond making mounds of moolah for the ownerships.

This latest call for his resignation in wake of recent Deflategate ruling seems simply one more salvo fired from those in the media captured by an agenda to remove the sitting Commissioner that began with Bountygate, mushroomed with the national-media bolstered anti-Redskins movement (’12) and grows with every flame-fanned firestorm that flares (Ricegate, Peterson, Deflategate).

When Goodell does eventually step down, which can’t be too soon for his heart and family, his replacement will still shovel the shenanigans that players and owners have and will continue to drop on and off the turf, year in, year out, that has the man with the big scooper, the sport Commissioner. The only difference may be that the new leader might buckle on the Redskins issue which may in fact be what’s been fueling Roger’s crass critics all along.

NFL popularity is at an all-time high and it’s not due to the sports media or America’s great admiration for it’s legal system.

6) Pro style play

A quarterback League, the man under center has set the tone since helmets came into vogue. But the NFL is undergoing a subtle change. The proliferation of flash-QB in college, i.e. Sir-Runs-Alot, cultivated by coaching-on-the-cuff and fast filling up draft boards, is phasing-out precision passing, dousing diversity and making the rabbit-habit (’athleticism’) his play-call of choice.

But the professional theater of pigskin is still strong and favored by NFL fans.

Whether it’s the steely poise of pocket passers who “take a licking and keep on ticking (Timex®),” the protective walls on-line that adapt to diversity, ball-carriers who grind like tanks or cut like a surgeon, receivers with hands of glue that brave the blind-side or the tackle-machines that cover, enabling the glory-guys (sacks / INT) to do their thing, it’s a smorgasbord of skills & style that keeps the football in the game.


Steven Keys
Brass Tacks
Photo credits: ThankYou, wc.cca, 11.25.09, vistamommy; NFL-symbol, Wikiproject.
Posted: 9.7.15 @ 2:41am; edit 11:59 EST

Canton 2016: Think Buddy Ryan

8 Aug

It’s August, a time of preparation for the coming autumn change.

Plants, wildlife and insects are doing all their things in appreciation of a limited lifespan and anticipating the coming cold.

Farmers are, well, not exactly sure what they’re doing but they’re always busy.

Parents are planning one last getaway before the kids head back to school (farmer-parents don’t have the luxury). So if you live in a blessed cul-de-sac, get ready for the ‘beep-beep-beep-beep-beep’ sound at 6:15, 7:00, 7:25, 8:05 and 9:00am (safety school bus).

It’s officially “makeover time,” per Oprah Winfrey. My beautiful wife subscribes.

And for ball-players it signifies arrival of summer’s dog days.

Most players & coaches return to baseball in mid-January and by this time it’s taken a heavy toll on both mind & body that money can‘t forestall. It’s the grind.

Contenders bearing-down for the stretch run, vying for League pennants and all-expenses paid trips to the October classic, the World Series.

And it’s also when the current trends in baggy-pants and long locks come into direct conflict with the 90°+ day-time temps (80° night). I get mental-sunburn just thinkin’ about it.


But this weekend in the month formerly known as Sextilis (6th in original 10-mth Roman calendar), later re-named in honor of Emperor Augustus (Wikipedia), is also time for that other big operator of fun & frolic, the NFL, to ceremonially kick-off their new season.

With the 32 training camps up & running, Saturday marks a collective effort to honor & reflect on those men (someday a woman, by-golly) who helped make their vocation a great one by way of busty inductions into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, OH.

This year’s list of honorees include Misters Jerome Bettis, Tim Brown, Charles Haley, Mick Tingelhoff, Bill Polian, Junior Seau, Ron Wolf and Will Shields.

Halls of Fame voters take alot of flak these days.

On rare occasion it’s deserved, when the commitment appears to be in serious doubt (Le Batard vote transfer (MLB)). But it’s an honor that creates a duty and one that cannot be all that easy to fulfill.

Like the Constitution, you don’t want to be hamstrung by too many guidelines or turn it into an encyclopedia of do’s & don’ts. You want flexibility, choice.

By the same token there’s gotta’ be a standard, a cut-off point.

What used to be a “three hour tour” in Canton’s football-shaped complex may now take parts of two days and feel more like a stranded stay on “Gilligan’s Island,” sans the slap-stick (and adorable “Ginger,” “Marianne” and “Mrs. Howell,” i.e., “Lovie”) as the number of bustees steadily grows.

The Canton Theatre:

Dad: ‘Hey, no horsing around, champ!
Zachary: But Dad, there are so many. It’s all becoming a blur. Besides, bronzed means unbreakable, ya‘ know?
Dad: Really, Einstein? Don’t get smart, kiddo, or no Xbox® tonight. I saw that.’

As is customary, induction day will trigger sport forums discussions as to the worthiness of this year’s honorees, personal favorites and those notables who didn’t get the call for the current roster of bronzed immortals.

One name recently debated is that of former Raiders (Oilers / Saints) QB Kenny “the Snake” Stabler who died in July of colon cancer (d.7.8.15).

But to discuss a man’s HOF credentials so soon after his passing, especially when the answer can be a nay, which, in Ken’s case is not an unreasonable position. Best in the immediate aftermath of a death to reflect on the man’s life as it was, not on what it wasn‘t, and save the Hall topic for a respectfully later date.


Other notables not in mournful state but viable candidates for Cantonization include coach Tom Flores, NFL Films innovator-tech Steve Sabol, QB Jim Plunkett, D-lineman Jim Marshall, O-lineman Jerry Kramer and coordinator Buddy Ryan.

This 2015-16 season will mark the 30th anniversary of the Bears whopping win in Super Bowl 20 (v. Pats, 46-10), Chicago’s last NFL title and due in no small part to the man many consider the mastermind of their vaunted defense, James David Ryan.

Buddy Ryan was born in the Sooner state (2.17.34), played offensive line at OSU (A&M) and is well-known amongst football fans as the father of Bills current head coach Rex Ryan and his brother, Saints defensive coordinator, Rob Ryan.

For Buddy’s 31 years in the NFL, 24 were in a coordinator (line) capacity, having been a head coach at career’s end with the Eagles (5) and Cardinals (2).

In my run-down of the 295 inductees since 1963’s charter class I did not notice one a coordinator among them, or one who was ‘best known’ in that capacity.


There are two ‘best known as’ general managers, including Bill Polian of this year’s distinguished class (See; Ron Wolf), two team administrators (Finks / Schramm), numerous team owners, a film innovator (Ed Sabol), a punter (Guy) and even a Supervisor of Officials, Hugh “Shorty” Ray. All very deserving enshrinements, some late in coming, but no man elected based largely on his coordination contribution.

And that’s a damn shame.

Coordinators are specialists. Like the MD called in for the tough case (“Dr. Kimble”), they prove their value over time in what can be very trying, unique circumstances, are highly-regarded and then rewarded accordingly ($).

But apparently not so in America’s pro football chapel.

Ryan‘s impressive record:

Buffalo Bills (AFL): 1961-65, defensive line coach, champions ‘64-65;
New York Jets (AFL-NFL): 1968-75, defensive line coach, SB3 champ ’69;
Minnesota Vikings: 1976-77, defensive line coach, NFC champ ’76 (SB11);
Chicago Bears: 1978-85, defensive coordinator, SB20 champ, ’86;
Philadelphia Eagles: 1986-90, head coach, 43-35, 3 playoffs (0-3);
Houston Oilers: 1993, defensive coordinator, yapg (#14), papg (#4);
Arizona Cardinals: 1994-95, head coach, 12 – 20.


Deciding on a selection standard has to be challenging.

That a voter will inform their opinion is most certain a commonality. That bias, prejudice or peer-pressure skew the process cannot be discounted, but what are you gonna’ do, turn it all over to a robot or slew of sabrheads who have no feel whatsoever for the game beyond digits? No thanks.

On personality – character, Buddy rubbed some the wrong way (See; Houston jab), but then geniuses don’t win elections. My understanding is that he earned the respect of his men, not by over-identification with players but by his vast knowledge of defensive scheme and applying a standard with consistency.

Cantonizing one whose NFL contribution was in the assistant capacity would be a break from tradition, requiring a broader view from voters. But then the NFL has been broad-ening it’s own perspective and breaking barriers with a near zeal of late (Welter / Thomas / pink-wear (ugh)), so maybe it’s Bud time, too. Cheers.


Steven Keys
Macro Sport
Photo credits: PFHOF, Canton, M.Sharp, 7.14.7, wc; PFHOF, coemgenus, Canton, wc, 6.27.6; Ryan, WH, 10.7.11, P.Souza, wc; Carter, Canton-bust, 11.7.13, wc, MN-NG; PFHOF, 8.31.8, wc, Russell; NFL – wikiproject;
Posted: 8.7.15 @ 4:41pm EST
Copyright © 2015