Behind the Mic: A Much Different Weekend

If you recall, last weekend in the NFL, all of the underdogs won.  That’s right.  The teams that were favored to win did not.  And the thought by many was that the Colts, Cowboys, Chargers, and the Eagles all had a legitimate shot to do the same thing this weekend.  Perish the thought!

The Colts were never in the game with the Chiefs (31-13).  Dallas needed a late score to make the game look closer than it was against the Rams (30-22).  The Chargers were anemic against the Patriots (41-28).  The Eagles, on the other hand, came within an unfinished drive of beating the Saints, but they, too, did not prevail (20-14).

So, the divisional round games were basically a bunch of “yawners”.  But, that should not be the case this coming weekend.  Each match-up is extremely intriguing.

According to the lines on the games – 3 points for the Chiefs and 3.5 points for the Patriots – the only difference between the four appears to be the home field advantage.  The other interesting thing about the match-ups is each game involves high-scoring offenses.  Again the over/under line is 57 for the Rams and the Saints and 57.5 for the Patriots and the Chiefs.  The 114.5 combined number is the largest in 30 years.

Obviously, the Vegas odds makers don’t just take offense into consideration when they arrive at over/under numbers.  They also must look at the defenses.  The Chiefs’ defense is the worst of the bunch and the rest of the group have average defenses, at best.

The other huge asset for each of these four teams and, it may be the best predictor of a great Sunday of football, are the four coaches.  What announcer has not mentioned the Andy Reid tree in the last month?  Sean Payton has maintained excellence throughout his career and then (duh) – there’s Bill Belichick.  That leaves Sean McVay of the Rams, who is, by far, the most innovative mind of the young coaches.  This is an elite group, for sure.

Speaking of elite – there’s the quarterbacks – Brady, Brees, Mahomes, and Goff – two future Hall of Famers and the best young talent around.

Sunday promises to be a great day of NFL football!!

P.S.  Check Gary’s Guesses to see which teams make it to the Super Bowl at the end of the blog.

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSING)

 

  1. As much as Eagles’ fans want to keep Nick Foles around (and why wouldn’t they?), it will not happen. Carson Wentz is their future and the Eagles cannot possibly carry the $20.5 million price tag attached to Foles.
  1. There are cries to fire Jason Garrett of the Cowboys. He certainly is one of the most apathetic appearing coaches on an NFL sideline.  He does not seem to be the type to light a fire under his team, BUT, in the last three years, only the Patriots, Steelers, and Chiefs have won more games.  And all the noise about firing him comes from the outside, not from within the locker room. So, wait and see.
  1. If either the Patriots or the Saints win the Super Bowl, will Tom Brady or Drew Brees call it quits? Both have contracts that run through 2019.  They are so competitive that this is a tough call.  Look for them both to return.
  1. Alshon Jeffery dropped three passes all season, but every Eagles fan will remember the last one. And that is a shame. Alshon Jeffery is a great receiver and certainly was one of the main reasons the Eagles overachieved this year.  It is more appropriate to feel badly for Jeffery than to condemn him.
  1. RCN-TV has been the home of a number of upsets this basketball season – Easton over Beca, Liberty over Emmaus to name a few. This week, it’s Easton at Northampton on Tuesday night, Navy men at Lafayette on Wednesday, Easton at Parkland wrestling on Thursday, and Allen at Emmaus on Friday followed by Wilson at Bangor.

 
Gary’s Guesses: NFL Picks (Last week: 3-1)  (Overall: 165-82-2  67% )
 
NFL PLAYOFFS
 
NEW ENGLAND
RAMS

Making Memories

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

I would like to think that every RCN-TV sports broadcast is special to someone.  Over the years, I have heard from so many parents, grandparents, and players who were so happy that they were able to watch their special team or special someone LIVE or on Video On Demand.

If this week is any indication that we will have plenty of special moments in 2019, viewers should get their DVRs warmed up.

On Friday night, Scott Barr and Ryan Nunamaker and the RCN television team traveled to Memorial Gymnasium in Bethlehem to present the Bethlehem Catholic at Liberty wrestling match.  It is an inner city rivalry and, of late, it is always won by Beca.  Liberty has not beaten their cross-town rivals in nine years. In fact, in the last seven years, the Golden Hawks have not lost to ANY EPC wrestling team.

Through the first ten bouts, it was business as usual.  Liberty trailed Beca 30-17 and there were only four more bouts to wrestle.  The crowd was huge; the energy sapped a bit by the Beca lead; and I am sure some fans were thinking about hitting the exits early to beat the crowd.  And then, it all turned.

The Liberty Hurricanes won the final four bouts.  Liberty won 5-4 at 170 pounds; 8-2 at 182 pounds.  The score was 30-23.  Unless Liberty did something special, the best they could hope for was a tie.  New life was generated into the gymnasium when Damen Moyer pinned his opponent in 2:57.  It was 30-29 going into the final bout.

The final crucial bout was tied 1-1 with 28 seconds to go.  Senior Jake Ahmad got a takedown for Liberty and the Hurricanes won the match 32-30. The homeside fans went crazy as did the Liberty wrestlers and coaches.  The nine-year winless streak had come to an end.  It was great in the gymnasium and it was great television.

And the RCN-TV excitement continued into Saturday night.  This time it was all about high school basketball.  The two teams considered to be the area’s best, Emmaus and Bethlehem Catholic, would play each other for the only time this season, unless they would meet again in the EPC playoffs.  Both were ranked in the top ten in the state.

Again, there was a packed house with a number of fans trying to squeeze into the designated TV area.  Emmaus had lost only once and Beca just twice.  Two of those losses were to out-of-area schools.

There was added interest to the game.  Beca’s Justin Paz needed only eight points to set the all-time scoring record at the school.  That record had stood for 58 years!  Paz, who averages almost 21 points, scored only seven in the previous game and it was obvious the pressure was getting to him.  He had only four first half points.

He changed his sneakers at the half and that, perhaps, made all the difference.  At the 6:28 mark of the third period, he hit a 3-point shot and the record was his.  The crowd went wild.  His family was there and the moment was very special.

Beca won the game and will certainly be ranked #1 in the area.

Both Liberty and Bethlehem Catholic now have very special memories that were captured on RCN-TV.  Anyone who wishes can now cherish the moments for as long as they like.

The first week of 2019 has been a good one for RCN-TV sports.

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSING) 

  1. The Eagles can’t possibly win another Super Bowl, can they? After Cody Parkey made a 43-yard field goal that didn’t count and then missed one that did, the Eagles are starting to look like a team of destiny.  Parkey was formerly an Eagle.  He missed eight field goals during the season and three extra points.  It came out on Monday that the kick may have been tipped by Treyvon Hester.  For the Eagles, it’s on to New Orleans.
  1. The Browns, Packers, Bucs, Jets, Broncos, Dolphins, Bengals, and Cardinals all fired their coaches this season. The good news for them is that they still get paid if they have time on their contract and, for those aspiring to be NFL head coaches, there is plenty of room available.
  1. Most fans probably did not realize that Nick Foles had the best QB rating of any QB in the wild-card games. It sure would be nice, but probably impossible, if the Eagles could find a way to keep him on the roster for next season.  Call it Wentz insurance.
  1. By the way, all four underdogs covered the spread this past weekend. In fact underdogs have covered the spread in the last 10 playoff games.  And… Cody Parkey’s missed field goal cost one gambler $100,000 when he missed the field goal in the Eagles game.  The gambler had placed a $260,000 bet on the game.
  1. There is plenty of sports action on RCN-TV this week. There is high school basketball on Tuesday: Northampton at Freedom and Nazareth at Allen; on Friday – Liberty at Emmaus and Freedom at Parkland. Lafayette basketball will be televised on Wednesday when the men take on Loyola and on Saturday when the women play Bucknell.  Liberty wrestles at Emmaus on Wednesday night following the Lafayette game.

Gary’s Guesses: NFL Picks (Last week: 2-2)  (Overall: 161-81-2  67% ) 

NFL PLAYOFFS 

KANSAS CITY

NEW ENGLAND

RAMS

PHILADELPHIA

Gary’s Guesses

new year
Gary’s Guesses: NFL Picks (Last week: 14-2) (Overall: 159-79-2 67% )

Wild Card Weekend

INDIANAPOLIS

SEATTLE

BALTIMORE

PHILADELPHIA

Gary’s Guesses

merrychristmas

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Gary’s Guesses: NFL Picks (Last week: 13-3)  (Overall: 145-77-2  65% )

Week SEVENTEEN

DALLAS

KANSAS CITY

NEW ORLEANS

NEW ENGLAND

PHILADELPHIA

GREEN BAY

HOUSTON

BALTIMORE

ATLANTA

BUFFALO

INDIANAPOLIS

PITTSBURGH

CHICAGO

CHARGERS

SEATTLE

RAMS

new year

R & R

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

I hope someone noticed that I was away from the cameras last week. Chris Michael, Tom Stoudt, and John Leone covered the opening week of high school basketball, with some very interesting results, I must say. It will be a year of parity which means exciting games.

My wife and I went on another cruise. This time we had to fly. Lately, we have been going out of Bayonne, but not this time of the year – too cold. So we flew to Fort Lauderdale. The flight down was uneventful, except, for some reason, for the first time, we received “Pre-check” security approval and whizzed through. I was told that TSA randomly does that from time to time to allow people to experience it so they would be inclined to purchase it. I am now inclined, but I don’t fly enough to make the investment.

We sailed on the Harmony of the Seas. Up until a few months ago it was the largest ship on the ocean. It has since been surpassed by the Symphony of the Seas. Harmony has 2,747 state rooms so there are easily over 5,000 passengers on board. And there is an almost equal number of crew on board. Suffice it to say, it is a small city.

And all the things you have heard about cruising – 24-hour food, beautiful scenery, beaches, a wide variety of entertainment (comedy clubs, Broadway shows, two ice shows, two diving and aquatics spectacles, parades, intimate lounge music, casino gambling, etc.), and more. The service is spectacular from the restaurant staff to a room steward who cleans your room twice a day and makes sure your bed is turned down at night. Just like NOT at home.

But with all of that, the most interesting part of the trip is usually the people you meet. We like to share our dinner table even though you never know who you will get as your table mates. This time we sat with two couples who have cruised over 50 times each. The one gentleman, who was 85 years old, played hockey for the Chicago Black Hawks. His wife was an avid cruiser 19 years his junior. She booked five more cruises on the ship during this cruise. They are always within a few weeks of their next one.

The other couple owned a swimsuit business in Florida. He, at one time, was part of the start-up for Sharper-Image. That business took him to Moscow where he was kidnapped by the Russian Mafia and forced to pay $5,000 to be freed (I told you we meet interesting people).

We sat in a hot tub with a couple from Zimbabwe and listened to their journey to America years ago. And once my wife explains how she came to America from Germany as a baby with Ukrainian parents a new story is added to their repertoire.

There is never a dull moment and there is very little sleep. Yet, we always come away feeling fortunate that we can experience life through the eyes of so many others.

Going home was not as much fun – our flight from Fort Lauderdale to Philadelphia was changed. We had to go to Boston and then on to Philly. In Boston, the flight to Philly was delayed by an hour and a half. Instead of arriving home on Sunday night at 7:00pm, we walked in the door at 11:15pm.

Rest assured, however, we are ready to do it again!

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSING)

1.   I watched the Eagles game on the flight home and saw the finish later. They looked like last year’s Eagles. Now can they get lucky enough to make the playoffs? Dallas has a one-game lead in the East over the Redskins and the Eagles and they own the tiebreaker over both. So, Dallas must lose the last two and the Redskins and/ or the Eagles must go 2-0.  Keeps you watching, right?

2. The MVP this year appears to be the Kansas City QB Patrick Mahomes. He should pass for over 5,000 yards and over 50 touchdowns. Those numbers have only been achieved one time – by Peyton Manning in 2013. The Chiefs could win the Super Bowl.

3. If you are a Dallas fan, how do you feel about Jason Garrett? After going on a five-game winning streak, they got shut out on Sunday by the Colts. Were you ready to fire him earlier, and then ready to keep him lately and now ready to fire him again? Oh, the NFL – so fickle – just ask Eli Manning!

4. Don’t expect an NBA championship out of the 76ers quite yet. Jimmy Butler certainly has helped, but he missed a few games this past week with injury. Even with him, they are barely one of the ten best teams in the league.

5. I am taking a two-week holiday break from blogging, but the NFL picks will continue. I hope you use them so you have someone else to blame.

Gary’s Guesses: NFL Picks (Last week: 9-7) (Overall: 132-74-2 64% )

Week SIXTEEN

TENNESSEE

BALTIMORE

CHICAGO

DALLAS

NEW ENGLAND

CAROLINA

MIAMI

INDIANAPOLIS

PHILADEPHIA

MINNESOTA

GREEN BAY

CLEVELAND

RAMS

NEW ORLEANS

SEATTLE

DENVER

300TH

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

Six years ago, the RCN Marketing Department had the “brilliant” idea to ask me to write a weekly “blog”. My first thought back then was, “What exactly is a blog?” My next thought was why would anyone care what I think, let alone read about what I think. I must say those thoughts still remain every time I sit down to fulfill the task put before me. And I am about to do it again for the 300th time (OMG!)

The name “blog” was created from joining the words “web” + “log”. Blogs began in the 1990’s according to my research and were, back then, normally the work of a single individual. Blogs by an individual usually center around one single general topic – politics, food, the arts, etc. In my case, the idea was that I would write about sports.

My co-worker, Chris Michael, was asked to do the same so I took on the college and professional games, for the most part, and Chris focused on the local high school scene. From time to time, I have ventured into other areas to the delight of my female editors.

The process seems simple enough. Every Monday (or Sunday night), I sit down and stare at the keyboard hoping there will be some topic or inspiration from the past week that will allow me to write. There are Mondays when I stare for a very long time.

Since accepting this task, I have learned to truly admire journalists who must tap out story after story to fulfill their vocational responsibilities. For example, Keith Groller of  The Morning Call must write a dozen or more stories every week. Some of them are recaps of sporting events he has covered, but many are opinion pieces.

The Morning Call opinion writer, Bill White, has been knocking out three articles a week for the past 20-plus years on a variety of human interest stories. Bill wrote his last opinion pieces this past week as he is retiring. He will be missed.

Both have my admiration for their writing skills, but, even more so, for their innate ability to find a topic every time they need to.

So, here I sit, contemplating that I have had to come up with something to write about 300 times. When I finish, I know that at least three people will read it (I send it to five). It is their responsibility to make sure I do not say something stupid or grammatically incorrect. Since I taught English, the latter is much less likely than the former.

Within a day after my submission, I see the word, “posted” on an email and know that what I have written is out there for the world (probably 10 or so people) to see, with Lehigh Valley billboards promoting the title with my picture (blame the marketing people again).

So, for the 300th time, I have put words to computer screen. Three-hundred is the same number as a perfect bowling score and the same number as the lowest possible credit score. Should you attain the bowling score, I guess there would be euphoria. If 300 is your credit score, I am assuming the number causes you great consternation. I can only hope my blog is somewhere in the middle.

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSING)

1.  Local NFL, Penn State, broadcasting legend and Whitehall product, Matt Millen, has been awaiting a heart transplant for over two months and, according to reports, time is running out. Matt has amyloidosis, a rare disease that requires the transplant. As I write this, a match has not been found. Time for some divine intervention!

2. It is not unusual for an NFL coach to be fired during the season. It happens all the time. But this past Sunday, a coach was fired by a team during the season – something that team had never done before. The Green Bay Packers fired Mike McCarthy after 12+ years as their head coach. In the 98-year history of the Packers, they had never done that before.

3. Tom Brady, the outstanding thrower but unimpressive runner, finally attained a thousand yards rushing for his career! It took him 19 years and 265 games to do it. His best year was 2002 when he rushed for a total of 110 yards.

4. Two years ago, Deandre Swift ran roughshod over the Parkland Trojans in the PIAA state quarterfinal when he played for St. Joe’s Prep from Philadelphia. I hope you recognized the name this past Saturday when he almost led the Georgia Bulldogs to a monumental upset over the #1 undefeated Alabama Crimson Tide. Alabama needed three unanswered TD’s at the end to win the game. Swift rushed for a team-best 75 yards and a TD and caught six passes, one for a TD. He has 1037 yards for the season and 10 TD’s, both team highs. He will suit up again on January 1 in the Sugar Bowl against Texas.

5. High school football is over for the Lehigh Valley teams. Congratulations to the Bethlehem Catholic Golden Hawks for making it to the state semifinals and being the last local team standing. After a one-week respite, our high school basketball season kicks off on December 11 at Emmaus when the Green Hornets take on Parkland. The local basketball picture looks like it will be a very competitive year! Join us.

Gary’s Guesses: NFL Picks (Last week: 10-6) (Overall: 123-67-2 65% )

WEEK FOURTEEN

TENNESSEE

BUFFALO

CAROLINA

GREEN BAY

KANSAS CITY

NEW ENGLAND

NEW ORLEANS

GIANTS

HOUSTON

CHARGERS

DENVER

DALLAS

PITTSBURGH

DETROIT

RAMS

SEATTLE

 

 

Dream Come True

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

High school football has two more weekends and college football for the RCN TV crew has come to a close.  College basketball has begun and high school basketball is right around the corner.

That can only mean that it is once again time for one of my favorite nights of the year and it has nothing to do with athletics.  It is the night that I co-host the Dream Come True Telethon. Believe it or not (and I am a “not”), we will be doing the Telethon for the 33rd   year.  I did not host in the very early years (just a guest), but I have been around for most.

The Dream Come True Organization, in case you did not know, was founded in 1984 by Kostas Kalogeropoulous, a local businessman.  The goal of the organization is simple – fulfill the dreams of children who are seriously, chronically, and terminally ill and reside in the greater Lehigh Valley area.  Children are referred by family, friends, clergy, doctors, social workers, etc. and the dreams usually fall into three categories – trips, contact with celebrities, and special gifts (computers, shopping sprees, for example).  The organization has, also, helped with scholarships and, when necessary, funerals.

Scott Barr will be co-hosting again this year. We have spent this night together for many, many years and I would not want to work with anyone else. He handles the auction area and, boy, is he terrific!  If you watch Home Shopping Network or any of the other television all-day shopping channels, just watch Scott do his thing during the three hour night.  He is as good as, if not better, than the professionals.  Here are the specifics:

DCT logo

2018 Dream Come True Telethon & Online Auction

The 33rd Annual Dream Come True Telethon to Benefit Seriously, Chronically and Terminally Ill Children will take place on Monday, December 3, 2018 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. RCN customers in the Lehigh Valley (Channel 4 |1004 in HD), and Delaware County (Channel 8 |608 in HD), can watch live on RCN TV. The goal of the telethon is to increase awareness of Dream Come True, an organization that raises funds to grant the dreams of children who are terminally, chronically, and severely ill.

The online auction is now open and will close Monday, December 3 at 8:30 p.m.  Please check the auction site frequently as new auction items will continue to be added!

100% of the proceeds raised from the auctions go directly to Dream Come True.  We encourage you to visit www.dreamcometrue.org, to learn more about this heart-warming organization.

Thank you in advance for your consideration and support! Your donation will help make a child’s dream come true!

You will find a variety of unique items. If you want something really unique that cannot be found in any store, tune in and bid on the items.  You will make Scott’s night and, more importantly, help to make some child’s dream come true.  Go to https://www.biddingowl.com/dreamcometrue to make a bid.  Please!

Devin Almonte’s interviews with the children who have had their dreams fulfilled will demonstrate to you just how valuable your donations are.

The important facts again are:

The Date:   Monday, December 3

The Time:  6:00 – 9:00 PM

The Purpose:   To fulfill as many hopes, dreams and fantasies for seriously, chronically, and terminally ill children as possible

The Phone Number to Make a Donation:  1-800-749-8099 

All proceeds from the online and on-air auctions go directly to Dream Come True.

Thank you, in advance, for your consideration and support!  Your donation will help make a child’s dream come true!

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSING) 

  1. Alright, let’s look at the NFL playoff picture in the AFC: Although no team has technically clinched, the Chiefs and the Patriots are definitely going to make it. The Steelers, Chargers, and the Texans can start printing tickets.  That leaves one open spot.  Either the Ravens, Colts, or Titans should fill the spot.
  1. How about the NFC? The Saints and the Rams are both 10-1so they will be in, with the Saints probably getting the home field advantage.  The Bears should win the NFC North.  That leaves three spots.  One will go to the NFC East winner, whoever that will be (Dallas, Washington, or the Eagles).  The Vikings have a tough schedule, but could get in, along with the NFC East second place team.  The Seahawks and the Panthers are hopeful.
  1. I mentioned earlier in the year how Saquon Barkley has now forced me to watch the Giants as well as the Eagles. That is why it is great when they play each other.  It is even better when Saquon has a great game.  Well, on Sunday he had a great half – two touchdowns and 94 yards rushing.  It was the 10th time he has scored at least 20 fantasy points in a game.  Inexplicably, he touched the ball only four times in the second half eventually going over 100 yards rushing.  And the Giants lost.  He is great and the Eagles are still alive.
  1. The other NFL player I am most interested in had an even better game than Barkley – Christian McCaffrey, the son of Central Catholic’s Eddie McCaffrey. He ran for over 100 yards and caught passes for over 100 yards and scored two touchdowns.  His father was an elite athlete and “like father, like son”.
  1. The PIAA State Football playoffs continue this week. On Friday night, we will have the Bethlehem CatholicImhotep game from Northeast Philadelphia at 7:00pm LIVE.  Freedom ended their season like our AAAAAA teams seem to do every year this past Saturday when St. Joe’s Prep beat them.  The PIAA playoffs do not offer our local teams a level playing field!  Congratulations to Freedom for an historic year – their best record and their first District title!

Gary’s Guesses: NFL Picks (Last week: 11-4)  (Overall: 113-61-2  65% ) 

Week THIRTEEN

NEW ORLEANS

INDIANAPOLIS

PITTSBURGH

CAROLINA

BALTIMORE

HOUSTON

MIAMI

CHICAGO

DENVER

RAMS

GREN BAY

KANSAS CITY

TENNESSEE

NEW ENGLAND

SEATTLE

PHILADELPHIA

“Thanks” Giving

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company. 

I heard two sentences this week that really hit home.  The words were even more poignant since this is Thanksgiving week.

The first sentence came from a gentleman in his 80’s.   He said, “Growing old is good”.  I thought about that since I am getting up there or, as my younger friends constantly remind me, I have already gotten there.  But, so far, it is good.  Every day is a new challenge but every day is welcomed.

Sunday night on 60 Minutes , a former NFL player who now suffers from ALS said that after listening to his optimistic outlook on life, despite being diagnosed with a shortened life, said that people very often end their encounter with him by saying, “God bless you”.  His response is always the same, “He already has”.

For some reason, these two sentences meant a great deal to me.  I know I often try to fill these pages with sports stories, but not this week.  I have plenty to be thankful for.  I, along with many others, I’m sure, rarely verbalize it.  Since I have this venue, this is as good a time as any to say “Thank you”.

  • Thanks to my wife of 55 years. She has always been my rock.  I’m not as sure about me.  People who know me and then see her often say to her, “You must be a Saint”.  I can tell you she is.
  • Thanks to my children and grandchildren. For my wife, Luba, and I, they are our pride and joy.  They are all successful, caring, and nice people.  And they are happy.  What more could any parent or grandparent want?
  • Thanks to RCN. My occupational ventures have taken me from the classroom to the broadcasting booth.  The ride has been spectacular.  I started with Twin-County, stayed on with C-Tec, and continue the journey with RCN.  Vocationally, it is the best time of my life and they continue to allow this guy to represent them in public.  I really appreciate that.
  • Thanks to the viewers. They are appreciative.  And sometimes they complain when we do not cover games, but even that is a compliment in a way.  And when they offer criticism, we take it to heart and try to get better.
  • Thanks to the athletic directors, the coaches, and the statisticians. This job would be a nightmare without their help.  Luckily they ALL help.
  • Thanks to the student-athletes. If you want to feel and stay young, hang around young people.  I know every time I interview a Lafayette student, I come away thinking these are the citizens who will fix the world.
  • Thanks to the RCN television team. There are so many workers (and, boy, do they work) who run the wires, set up the cameras, the audio, the graphics, and the booths for every game only to tear it all down and do it all over again many times each week.
  • Thanks to Kristin Vitovitch. She will be embarrassed that her name is here, but she does all the rosters, helps keep me organized, and never frowns!
  • Thanks to Joanne G. She has to read and edit this blog every week.  I feel sorry for her, but at least I know one person has read it and corrected it.  She keeps me out of trouble and I thank her for that.

By the way, making this list really felt good.  You might want to make your own this week.  In summary, “Growing old is good” and may God bless you.

Happy Thanksgiving to you!

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSING) 

  1. Oh, the poor NFC East. With Washington losing on Sunday to the Texans and losing their quarterback for the year; the Eagles getting killed by the Saints; the Giants and Dallas winning, the NFC East is a mess.  No team can seem to play their way out of a possible playoff berth as much as they try.  All the teams are in it, but probably all should be out of it.
  1. How about Whitehall’s Saquon Barkley? I hope you chose him for your fantasy football team.  He now has the fourth highest number of fantasy points after 10 games of any player in NFL history – 252.8.  Only Eric Dickerson, Marcus Allen, and Patrick Mahones have ever scored more points.  The Eagles are next.
  1. The Philadelphia 76ers are going to have a great season. Jimmy Butler will fill both offensive and defensive pieces on a team that is starting to look like they could win the East.  They are certainly taking some of the attention away from the woeful Eagles.
  1. I had one of the most enjoyable interviews of my career this past Friday. Chicago Cubs’ manager Joe Madden was in town for the Lafayette-Lehigh football game.  He is so likable and intellectual and a great storyteller.  Thus, he is the perfect interview.
  1. The PIAA State Football playoffs begin this week. On Friday night, we will have the Bethlehem CatholicPottsgrove game from Palisades at 7:00pm LIVE.  Freedom won their very first District football AAAAAA championship this past Saturday and will take on St. Joe’s Prep on Saturday afternoon in Philadelphia at 1:00pm.  We will also bring that game LIVE.

Gary’s Guesses: NFL Picks (Last week: 9-4)  (Overall: 102-57-2  64% ) 

Week  TWELVE

CHICAGO

DALLAS

NEW ORLEANS

PHILADELPHIA

NEW ENGLAND

JACKSONVILLE

BALTIMORE

TAMPA BAY

CINCINNATI

CAROLINA

INDIANAPOLIS

CHARGERS

PITTSBURGH

MINNESOTA

HOUSTON

Is She Singing?

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

“It ain’t over until the fat lady sings”.  This phrase came about with the stereotypical overweight soprano singing her farewell song at the end of the opera leading to the dramatic finish.  So the opera was not over until she took the stage.

Now it has become a phrase often used in sports.  In that context, it means do not jump to a conclusion about your team until you are absolutely sure of that conclusion.  Don’t assume anything until it is true.

As you are well aware the Eagles lost to the Cowboys on Monday night 27-20.  Both the Cowboys and the Eagles have identical 4-5 records.  Both are two games behind the Redskins who sit at 6-3.  Two games does not seem like all that much to overcome, especially for the defending Super Bowl champion.  And the Eagles do have two games on the schedule with the Redskins.  But, has the “fat lady” started to sing?

According to the NFL, the Eagles are left with the hardest schedule in football.  Their future opponents have a combined record of 39-23, which is the best record any NFL team will face.

Up next, the Eagles travel to play the 8-1 New Orleans Saints.  Their other foes who are not in their division are the 8-1 Rams and the 6-3 Texans, who have won six in a row.  It will be very difficult to make up any ground in the East against any of these three teams.  Philadelphia will not be favored to win any of them.

Without such a difficult non-divisional schedule, there would be hope.  The Eagles have one game with the Giants (2-7), two games with the Redskins and one game with the Cowboys.

Now the East is weak and the Redskins could lose the next two – Houston and Dallas.  Dallas has Atlanta next week, but they just lost to the Browns (to the Browns!).

Right now, it looks as if the Rams and the Saints are definitely making the playoffs.  That would leave four spots for the Bears (6-3), Panthers (6-3), Vikings (5-3-1), and Washington (6-3).  The Packers (4-4-1), Dallas (4-5), and, dare I say, Eagles have a glimmer of hope.

On paper, it looks like the Eagles are done and could easily end the season with a losing record.  It was really wishful thinking anyway to expect another Super Bowl.  Back-to-back NFL championships have not been won for 14 years.  New England (of course) did it in 2004 and 2005.

This will be the fifteenth straight year that a team could not repeat.  Cue the “fat lady”.  She can start her aria.

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS) 

  1. It would be an understatement to say that most coaches are rather high-strung. I see it every week at the high school and college level.  It seems it is no different in the NFL.  New Orleans coach Sean Payton smashed a fire alarm inside his team’s locker room in Cincinnati this past Sunday when it just kept going off.  By the looks of the alarm, he made it stop.

    seanpaytondesk

  1. Since sports betting is pretty much legal nowadays, it was interesting to see some recent results. In the NFL, two weekends ago, according to Vegas, was the worst for bookmakers in 32 years. Things got better quickly.  This weekend with all the upsets – Tennessee over the Patriots; Browns over Atlanta; Colts over Jacksonville; and the Cowboys over the Eagles, the bookmakers got much healthier.
  1. This Friday, I will be interviewing the manager of the Chicago Cubs, Joe Madden. The former Lafayette student is returning to College Hill for the rivalry game (see below).  The last time I interviewed Joe Madden was in Yankee Stadium.
  1. RCN-TV is once again proud to present across the country college football’s most played rivalry when Lafayette takes on Lehigh this Saturday at 12:30pm for the 154th It is always a very special event.
  1. District championship playoff football is on tap this week. The AAAAAA bracket is intriguing because neither team has ever won a District football championship – #1 Freedom vs. #2 Emmaus on RCN-TV LIVE at 7:00pm.  On Saturday, our attention falls to the AAAA championship between Bethlehem Catholic and Saucon Valley.  That game is LIVE at 7:00pm.

Gary’s Guesses: NFL Picks (Last week: 9-5)  (Overall: 93-53-2  64% ) 

Week ELEVEN

 SEATTLE

CHICAGO

CAROLINA

DALLAS

BALTIMORE

NEW ORLEANS

TENNESSEE

HOUSTON

GIANTS

CHARGERS

ARIZONA

PITTSBURGH

RAMS

 

Marketplace Model

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company. 

By now, you probably know I would do almost anything to promote Dream Come True.  With that said, I want to let you know and please pass the word along that the 33rd Annual Telethon will take place this year on December 3, beginning at 6:00 pm.  There will be more about that in a later blog.

GaryDCT

What I never expected was to be asked to model for an upcoming article about Dream Come True.  It will be found in this month’s edition of Lehigh Valley Marketplace magazine.

The idea behind the session (notice I am already using modeling terminology) was to highlight the history of this wonderful event and offer a prelude to this year’s night.

I arrived in a suit and tie, but I failed to do any “mirror practicing” or spending time determining my best side.  Heck, I didn’t even work extra on my smile.  I figured I was in the hands of professionals and they would guide me through the process.

Makeup was the first challenge.  Now I want you to know that even though I have been on TV for almost 50 years, I can count on one hand the number of times someone had applied a base, some powder, and um… ( I don’t even know what I’m talking about here).  The makeup artist, called that because they can transform an artifact like me into a work of art, had me sit for the application.  It was moisturizer, a base, some powder, etc.  I was hoping she would capture my skin tone (who am I kidding here?).  Not surprisingly it took a little longer than most.  She, obviously, was working with a difficult canvas.  But, alas, I guess I looked as good as she could make me look.

It was on to the modeling portion.  I am assuming, since the magazine is not on the stands yet, that I can anticipate one or two pictures of myself and Scott Barr.  But the photographer took over fifty pictures while instructing me and Scott to “stand straight, don’t breathe, chin out, tilt your head, eyes open wider, and smile”.  For us, the list seemed endless.  Fifty plus pictures to find one or two good ones – with our faces, that sounds just about right.

The important thing, of course, is that attention is brought to Dream Come True and their worthy cause.  But I keep thinking that once the Marketplace magazine comes out, there just might be some heightened interest in more modeling jobs.  Will I need an agent?  A little plastic surgery?  Will I need to create “my people” so they can take calls from “their people”?  I will sit by my phone and wait (and probably wait and wait and wait).

But… maybe Sports Illustrated is reading this?

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS) 

  1. It sure looks like the Steelers knew what they were doing in not settling with Le’Veon Bell. Bell refused to sign his $14.5 million contract.  James Conner has filled in very nicely, thank you.  In the last four games, all wins, by the way, he has touched the ball 108 times for 689 yards.  He is on pace for over 2,000 yards, much like Bell numbers.  Bell has one more week to come to terms.  His bargaining power has slipped.
  1. Jon Gruden is finding that his return to the NFL has been quite painful. With only one win, against the hapless Cleveland Browns, it appears the Raiders will not win another game this year.  Some think the team is just awful and others believe the game has just passed Gruden by.  I know there are rabid Raiders fans out there who have hated some of the trades made.  It’s a mess in Oakland right now.
  1. The Redskins lost on Sunday and that helps the Eagles who were in a bye week. Washington had a three-game winning streak until they met the Falcons on Sunday, losing 38-14.  Washington is now 5-3; the Eagles are 4-4.
  1. Alabama sure has stopped much of the FBS National Championship conversation when they demolished #3 LSU 29-0 on Saturday.  The defense was awesome; the offense was very impressive.  Maybe the semifinal game between #2 and #3 will be good.  The other one will not and it does not look like the championship game will be either.
  1. District playoff football continues this week. The AAAAAA bracket is down to four teams – #5 Parkland vs. #1 Freedom will be on RCN-TV LIVE at 7:00 on Friday night followed by  #3 Easton vs. #2 Emmaus at 9:30.  On Saturday, our attention falls to the AAAA semifinals.  At 1:00 PM, we will have Bethlehem Catholic – Pottsville LIVE followed by the LIVE telecast of the NorthwesternSaucon Valley game at 7:00 PM.

 

Gary’s Guesses: NFL Picks (Last week: 10-3)  (Overall: 84-48-2  64% ) 

Week TEN

PITTSBURGH

JETS

ATLANTA

NEW ORLEANS

WASHINGTON

NEW ENGLAND

GREEN BAY

INDIANAPOLIS

CHICAGO

KANSAS CITY

CHARGERS

RAMS

PHILADELPHIA

SAN FRANCISCO