Behind the Mic – January 30th

President Obama was inaugurated for the second time this past weekend and gave a challenging, competitive inaugural speech aimed at the opposition party. Everyone heard his words and had an opinion about what he said on “both sides of the aisle”, as they say. He also made a comment that did not garner nearly as much attention; however, as a sports and football fan, it warranted some investigation and thoughts.

“I’m a big football fan,” Obama told the New Republic, “but I have to tell you, if I had a son, I’d have to think long and hard before I let him play football.” I still remember my own mother refusing to sign the permission form to let me play football. She finally relented when I went to high school and I played for four years.

This week, Rolling Stone magazine did a study: “This is Your Brain on Football” (Jan., 2013) which concluded that high school football is America’s most dangerous game.

The latest statistics indicate that 3.8 million Americans suffer a concussion on the playground or playing contact sports. The number is probably above 4 million because it is assumed that many concussions go unreported when they do not cause unconsciousness. As a result, the number could realistically be much, much higher. Many neurosurgeons are of the belief that no child should play tackle football until they turn 14. They report that concussive symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, fatigue, inability to focus, memory failure and lightheadedness can linger indefinitely. These symptoms can affect school, activities, and future mental development.

Those of us who played sports wonder why this problem is much more serious than it used to be. Kids have, without a doubt, gotten bigger, faster, and stronger. Doctors say, however, that the development of neck muscles have not. Combining the two has created some devastating consequences.

If the past is a precursor to the future, parents need look no further than the current state of the NFL in the court system. 4,000 former players are currently pressing claims for permanent brain damage. Every week, we watch games where some hits are so vicious that we feel somewhat guilty about enjoying the game so much. We know that these men are being paid quite well to take those hits, so I suppose this helps us assuage our reservations about the game.

P.S.: Girls are twice as likely as boys to suffer concussions when you consider all of the sports played by both genders which may subject them concussions. These include: soccer, lacrosse, hockey, or the leader in head trauma – competitive cheerleading! Did you know 37,000 cheerleaders in the US were taken to ER’s in 2011 alone?

Only football results in more traumatic injuries.

The good news (if there is any) is that prevention of these injuries is being studied by the medical and athletic communities. However, the quandary for parents remains: Would you let your son play football?


 

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS)

  1. This past weekend, the Lafayette women’s and the Lafayette men’s basketball teams both beat their archrival, Lehigh. This feat had not been accomplished since February 23, 2008. They did not just win – the women won by 16 at home and the men won by 21 at Lehigh. It all happens again on February 23 and 24.
  2. “I went to the Pro Bowl and a basketball game broke out”. NFC-62 AFC-35. I would like to comment on the game, but I did not watch it (again)!
  3. San Francisco vs Baltimore on Sunday. Can anybody prove they had these two teams in the Super Bowl this year before the season began? QB’s Colin Kaepernick vs Joe Flacco – no Brady, no Brees, no Manning or Manning – go figure. By the way, the over/under in Vegas is 47.5. I would lean towards the under. The 49’ers are favored in Vegas by 3 ½. Although I am picking the 49’ers, I would lean towards Baltimore with the points.
  4. Speaking of predictions, Vegas picked Alabama to win the BCS championship next year. Notre Dame came in 11th as a 25-1 long-shot.
  5. “60 Minutes” interviewed USADA on Sunday and the head said Lance Armstrong lied throughout the Oprah interview and if he does not testify truthfully in front of that group, he will never compete again in cycling. I wonder what Dr. Phil will learn from the man who pulled the hoax on Manti Te’o?

NFL PICKS FOR THIS WEEK

(Last week – 1-1) (88-54 for the season – 62%)

SAN FRANCISCO – 24-21

Behind the Mic – December 26th

The NFL is considering expanding the regular season and/or expanding the number of playoff participants.  Is this really necessary?  The great thing about the NFL as opposed to the NHL, the NBA, and Major League Baseball is that the regular season games have tremendous importance.  A 16 game schedule puts greater importance on an NFL regular season game than any of the regular season games of the other three major sports.  Should the consideration be about the quality and importance of the games or the quantity and the financial gain of the product?  I would like to think it is the former.

By expanding the regular season to 18 games or allowing 16 teams into the playoffs, the quality of play will most likely decrease and, certainly, the quality of the teams making the playoffs will certainly decrease.  Do we really want half of the league in playoff games, with some carrying a .500 or lower record?  Last year, the Cardinals, Titans, Bears, and Chargers would have gotten in.  Three of the four did not have winning records.

Isn’t this really the problem with the college football bowl system?  There are currently 35 Bowl games allowing 70 college football teams into the postseason – 70!!  That is a ridiculous number and has watered down the interest to almost nil until the major bowls are played.  Sure, it works for ESPN, but does it really create more interest from the average fan?  It does not.

There is no better sports product in the world than the NFL.  Why?  The regular season games are important; the playoff games and the way they are scheduled are perfect; and the Super Bowl is the “greatest spectacle in sports”.  Diluting the product will undoubtedly make more money, but in the long run, it will, also, dilute interest.

I know the only constant is change, but it is not always for the better – Leave the NFL alone!

 


 

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS)

  1. With the Newtown shooting, it was very difficult to watch the news this weekend and then try to enjoy regular programming.  The topical shows like Saturday Night Live, David Letterman, Jay Leno, etc. just did not seem right for the moment.  Laughing was difficult.
  2.  I taught school for almost 30 years and was on the school safety committee.  About 15 years ago, I was asked to go into a classroom, ask a young man to come out in the hallway with his gym bag, and search the bag for a weapon.  Bringing a weapon to school back then was unthinkable.  I thought this was a total waste of time.  In the bag was a REAL gun and the police were called.  The student was being bullied and brought the gun to school to feel safer.  That was 15 years ago. I never forgot that day!  This week made that memory more vivid again.
  3. I mentioned last week that our playoff football teams all lost to bigger, stronger Philadelphia private schools.  I said we, therefore, needed to get bigger and stronger.  Well, none of the schools that beat our schools won the state championship playoff games (some did not even get there).  Our schools need to get MUCH bigger and MUCH stronger.
  4. High school basketball started last week.  Two of our four games went overtime.  An exciting start to what should be an exciting year.  Lots of parity.
  5. No blog next week so HAVE A WONDERFUL HOLIDAY WEEK!  (I will make my NFL picks, however).
 

 

NFL PICKS FOR THIS WEEK
(Last week – 11-5 )  (  94-84 for the season – 64% )

  • CINCINNATI
  • ATLANTA
  • HOUSTON
  • GIANTS
  • BUFFALO
  • TENNESSEE
  • PITTSBURGH
  • NEW ORLEANS
  • CHICAGO
  • SEATTLE
  • SAN FRANCISCO
  • SAN DIEGO
  • DENVER
  • GREEN BAY
  • NEW ENGLAND
  • WASHINGTON

Behind the Mic – December 12th

I know this blog is called “Behind the Mike”, but this week it would be better titled, “Behind The Computer”.  I thought you might be interested in how news and sports people find some of the stories that they report.  You probably often wonder how a reporter went out and found some of the unique stories and people that make up their columns, their TV reports, their radio interviews.  Well, many times, those stories just come to them.

Each week, I am offered some “wonderful opportunity” (their words, not mine) to interview a person on a variety of subjects.  Since I am basically a play-by-play broadcaster and our local programming is limited in scope, those anonymous press agents are seeking out the wrong person.  However, I always find their proposals quite interesting.  Let me share the last ten I have gotten and, by the way, these have come in just this past week.  The comments in parentheses are mine:

  1. Undercover Agent’s Life Made into a Movie  (I have seen this movie many times)
  2. College Basketball Returns  (I never thought it wouldn’t)
  3. Freshman Wins Heisman  (This would be the same person who wanted to discuss the return of college basketball – see #2.  Like me, he, also, reads the paper and watches TV)
  4. A Legend’s Journey – The Life of Jake “The Snake” Roberts – Former Professional Wrestler   (Is “The Snake” really a legend?)
  5. Top 12 Amusement Parks for the Holidays   (I would rather know how to afford them)
  6. Life Threatening Results of Concussions   (I already knew head injuries could be dangerous).
  7. Thuzio – The Ultimate Fan Experience – With Tiki Barber   (Play flag football with a football player; have dinner with an NFL player, etc. – Doesn’t this sound like it would be very, very expensive?)
  8. Sports From a Woman’s Perspective   (I get this message from my wife EVERY weekend!)
  9. New Year’s Revolution – What You Were Born To Do   (So this person was born to tell others what they were born for?  Huh?)
  10. Non-surgical Facelift Uses Sound, Not Scalpel, To Help Smooth Away the Years… in Minutes   (My personal favorite)

So, in conclusion, #10 is my favorite.  I think, before I entertain the idea of having this person on my show, I will hold an iPod up to my face for a week.  I wish I knew what sound works the best.

Let me get back to you on this one!!


 

 ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS)

  1. Our local football teams were all eliminated from the state playoffs by the Philadelphia Catholic schools.  This has been happening with very few exceptions every year since the Catholic schools became part of the PIAA.  The big difference seems to be the linemen.  We need to get bigger and stronger to compete.
  2. Would it be wrong if Penn State played Ohio State in a Bowl game and the money would go to charity?
  3. It sure looks like there will be a Manny Pacquiao-Juan Marquez #5 after Pacquiao was knocked out cold this past weekend.  Just let these two fight every six months.  By the way, the replay is on HBO this Saturday.
  4. The Phillies, with this week’s trades, seem quite serious about contending again.  The deals look very good right now (but it is December).
  5. Got this offer this week -Jan. 7–BCS National Championship Bowl (Notre Dame-Alabama). Tickets start at $1,450.00. I also have a 20 Person Suite!  Interested??

NFL PICKS FOR THIS WEEK
(Last week- 9-7)  (73-43 for the season – 63%)

  • CINCINNATI
  • GREEN BAY
  • GIANTS
  • NEW ORLEANS
  • ST. LOUIS
  • WASHINGTON
  • MIAMI
  • DENVER
  • HOUSTON
  • SAN DIEGO
  • SEATTLE
  • DETROIT
  • DALLAS
  • OAKLAND
  • NEW ENGLAND
  • JETS