BY BILL JOHNSON
Jason and I have gotten some negative feedback over the past few weeks. There's nothing new about that. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Maybe we're too easy on Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy, or our expectations are to low, or we don't hold management's feet to the fire enough. Topics like that are the kind that sports radio is based on. People with differing opinions have a forum, and hopefully it's entertaining.
That's not what we received negative feedback on over the past few weeks.
It hasn't been over a difference of opinion, but the fact that we've brought two related topics to the show: Gay NFL Draft candidate Michael Sam and and the NFL's position on SB1062, a piece of legislation that would've given business owners in Arizona the right to deny service to gay people based on religious reasons.
For me, these were two huge topics, especially out of season.
There have been gay players in the NFL since the beginning. They've been afraid to say anything while they were playing. Michael Sam took it a step further. He let all the NFL teams know ahead of time. We always say that things like this shouldn't matter anymore, that in these progressive times we are all the same. We all know that isn't true. The reaction of players and fans will be closely monitored, now and in years to come when more gay players enter the league.
Seems like a pretty meaty topic with room for plenty of differing opinions. Our negative feedback didn't involve differing opinions, not directly anyway.
According to some listeners, we weren't supposed to address the topic at all.
Same thing for SB1062, a piece of legislation in Arizona that was vetoed by Governor Jan Brewer. It involved business owners being able to deny service to gay people based on religious beliefs. While I thought it was silly and unnecessary, that really wasn't our angle on the story. The NFL was, directly or indirectly, threatening to move next years Super Bowl out of Arizona if this bill had become law. My question was whether or not the NFL should get involved as, for lack of a better term, a lobbyist. A massive wing of the entertainment industry sticking it's nose in state politics. Is that right?
Again, a small yet vocal segment of our listenership complained, not that our opinions differed with theirs, but that the topic was brought up at all.
Well, I hate to brake this to you, but people aren't going to stop being gay just because it makes you uncomfortable. Gay people have lived among us through history and they will continue to do so. They will be a lot like us. Some will succeed. Some won't. Some will be good people. Some will be bad people. I'm assuming that we all want things to work, but in reading some of your messages I'm not so sure. It's seems like some of you are convinced that if we don't talk about uncomfortable issues they don't exist.
How ever you feel about gay people or any other controversial issue that affects the Packers and the NFL, we will continue to discuss everything on Green and Gold Today. We will provide a forum for all opinions, not just our own, but we will continue to discuss ALL issues that affect the Packers and the NFL. We will not side step anything just because it might make some of our listeners uncomfortable. We think that's what makes the show work.
If I've offended you and you need to contact my superiors, here are their email addresses: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
But some of you already knew that.
BY BILL JOHNSON
I applaud the Big 12 on their decision to suspend Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart for three games for shoving a fan in their game at Texas Tech on Saturday. Under no circumstances can a player go after a fan. Something had to be done.
Something like this has been coming for a while. The fine line between active, involved crowd and unruly mob gets crossed almost nightly at some of the great college basketball venues in this country.
While students go too far sometimes, the majority of what I hear coming from student sections is based in humor. I've seen some very creative efforts from students in an attempt to distract opposing players. I like creative.
From what I've heard, there is nothing funny or creative coming from the adult hecklers that frequent college basketball games. I understand voicing displeasure for a bad call, or getting on coaches or players here and there. I get that.
There are a lot of Jeff Orr's out there. Orr is the Texas Tech fan that had the altercation with Marcus Smart. Fan's like Orr pay top dollar for tickets that are close enough so they can be heard, by players, coaches, refs, and play by play guys. I wonder if these fans even watch the game sometimes. They're to busy trying to think up what they'll say next. Some of them try to be funny. (emphasize TRY) Most of them try to act tough, which is absolutely pitiful. They push out their sagging chests and scream expletives anklet everyone know that they are still "the cock of the walk." Most of it is just stupid, tough talk. Some of it is borderline racism. I've even heard it go over the border.
Would any of this be acceptable in any venue other than a college basketball arena? Would Jeff Orr walk up to Marcus Smart or any of the other athletes that he taunts out in public and call them a "piece of crap?" Would any of these middle aged tough guys with good seats have the testicular fortitude to confront anyone without a 100% guarantee that there will be no retribution?
I think not. These are the guys that intentionally avoid driving through the inner city, and if they do, they lock their doors and clench their cheeks the entire ride.
What does that make them? Cowards, plane and simple. They scream expletives and epithets only when their safety is 100% guaranteed. They use their top flight college basketball seat to rid themselves of frustrations from everyday life that they are too cowardly to confront directly. The are deplorable. They sicken me.
Jeff Orr voluntarily surrendered his Texas Tech tickets for the rest of the season. It won't make a bit of difference. Who knows? It might actually be better.
BY BILL JOHNSON
Final score- Seahawks 27 Broncos 23
As happens more often than not in championship games, the immovable object triumphs over the unstoppable force. The Seattle defense continues to be the story. The pass rush frazzles Manning just enough. While the Broncos run defense regresses from their impressive performance versus the Brady Bunch, the Seattle run defense stymies the Broncos duo of Moreno and Ball.
MVP- Marshawn Lynch. The silent, Skittle devouring battering ram will find the going rough early on, but offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell will not flinch. By the fourth quarter, Lynch will be ripping off five yards per carry. A big play from Lynch will salt this one away.
Russell Wilson will play well, but will be over shadowed by Lynch and the defense. In spite of winning the Super Bowl in only his second season, Wilson will continue to NOT be mentioned among the league's best QBs. Good news for Seahawks fans. This guy loves a challenge.
Good news for Broncos fans: The loss guarantees at least one more season of Peyton Manning. 18 will return, and the Broncos will continue to contend.
For those of you that make a wager, I like Seattle +2. Too close to call on the total. (over/under 48)
Some prop bets to consider.
MVP odds- Lynch 15-4, Decker 40-1, Ball 75-1
Player to score first TD- Lynch 11-2, Ball 16-1
There are tons of prop bets. If nothing else, look them up for your Super Bowl Party pools. Great fun!!
Enjoy the bowl!
BY BILL JOHNSON
On this most festive of Super Bowl weeks, it's time to reflect. How long have you been watching the Super Bowl? My first Super Bowl was SBVII in January 1973 at the L.A. Colosseum when the undefeated Dolphins beat the Over the Hill team from Washington. Even though I don't remember watching SB's I-VI, the miracle of NFL Films has brought them to life for me for years.
With that, here's a list of my favorite Super Bowl's.
Honorable mention- SBV Colts 16 Cowboys 13. Maybe the sloppiest of the Bowls, the teams combined for 11 turnovers. This game was so bad, a defensive player from the losing team was voted MVP. (Dallas LB Chuck Howley.) As flawed as the game was, it had a great ending. Number 80, Colts kicker/wideout Jim O'Brien kicking the game winning 32 yard field goal as time expired. I remember seeing that highlight over and over again. The joy in O'Brien and his teammates. The anguish of the "always a bridesmaid" Cowboys, amplified by Hall of Famer Bob Lilly launching his helmet. Classic stuff. Great memories.
5. Super Bowl 1- Packers 35 Chiefs 10. You can't beat a classic. Max McGee was a great Packer before Super Bowl I. After 7 catches for 138 yards and 2 touchdowns (while toting around a vicious hangover) in the win over the Chiefs, he became a legend. The Glory Years were coming to a close. Lombardi used a combination of seasoned champions and new blood to dominate the AFL's best team.
4. Super Bowl VII- Dolphins 14 Washington 7. The hair was long. The mustache's bushy. The uniforms had pastels. While the Dolphins were outwardly of the '70's, they were inwardly of the '50's. They were a reflection of their hard-nosed leader Don Shula. They pounded the ball with Larry Csonka to set up the bomb to Paul Warfield. A comedy-of-errors field goal attempt by Garo Yepremian was the only thing that prevented this from being a shut out for the "No Name" Defense. The first Super Bowl I watched.
3. Super Bowl XXII- Washington 42 Broncos 10. I watched this game at DJ's Pizza in Stevens Point. Everyone that entered chose either a Broncos or Washington hand stamp. Every time your team scored, you'd get a shot. I chose Washington and it looked bad early. The Broncos jumped out to a 10-0 lead, and it appeared that 95% of the bar was supporting them. I was a contrarian, along with 7 or 8 others in the bar. We were rewarded for our individuality, as Washington exploded for 35 second quarter points and blasted Elway and the Broncos. After a 5 shot second quarter, the second half was a little foggy.
2. Super Bowl XXXI- Packers 35 Patriots 21. The Pack was really back. It wasn't just fools gold. It wasn't just the football gods toying with my heart yet again. The Packers were finally World Champs again. It was magnificent. From Rison's wrong route TD, to Howard's dagger kick return (even though Wayne Larivee hadn't yet arrived), to Reggie's sacks to salt it away. It was a dream that no Packers fan in their right mind ever thought would come true.
1. Super Bowl IV- Chiefs 23 Vikings 7. Ladies and gents, the Hank Stram show. The Little General was at his absolute best, miked up by NFL films as a two touchdown plus underdog. It was so good, it made me get out the dictionary and look up "matriculate." The Vikes never knew what hit 'em in the first of their four heart rending Super Bowl losses. 65 Toss Power Trap, rats. 65 Toss Power Trap.
BY BILL JOHNSON
OK, decent regular season with the picks. Great start, finished ahead a bit.
When it all comes out, these are the four teams that many NFL fans figured would still be standing at this point. So, let's do this!!!!
Patriots +5.5 @ Broncos.
Don't believe for a second that Peyton Manning is the ONLY quarterback in this game with a tremendous amount of pressure on him. Brady and the Pats are recognized by most as the closest thing to a dynasty in this era. Every coach copies Belichick. The Pats are among the favorites every season. Brady is usually mentioned first among the greatest quarterbacks of our era. With all of that, the Brady Bunch has not hoisted the Vince Lombardi Trophy since February 6, 2005. As great as the Pats are, the whispers started a few years ago. "They haven't won anything in _____ years." It's always said with at least some respect, but as it stands, part of Tom Brady's legacy will be that he didn't win anything after the age of 27. 2007 must drive Brady insane (18-1, SB loss to the Giants.) As it stands, Brady can't be considered the greatest quarterback of all time. In a different era, Joe Montana went 4-0 in Super Bowls. As great as Brady is, he's 3-2 in the big game. Because of parity, it's harder to be a dynasty now than it was in Montana's era. With that, Brady get's himself back into the "greatest ever" conversation with a couple of Super Bowl wins late in his career. At 5-2 in Bowls, he would be like a combination of Montana and Elway (success early, disappointment in the middle, success late.) I haven't mentioned Peyton Manning in this conversation because I don't think he belongs there. Peyton Manning is a great quarterback, but not the greatest of all time. One Super Bowl isn't enough to be in that discussion, and that's what I think Manning ends up with. His Denver offense is as good as any offense has ever been. The Broncos defense wasn't great to start with, and now they very injured. The Patriots have morphed into a power running team, and they should be able to control the clock, keeping Manning and the Broncos offense frustrated on the sidelines. Brady Bunch 27 Broncos 21.
Seahawks -3.5 vs 49ers
Jim Harbaugh is hard working. He's tough. He's fiery. He's colorful. He's successful. He's wearing better pants now. These are all admirable qualities (especially the pants.) So why does everyone hate him? Around here, (and in Detroit and Seattle, and several other NFL cities) it's understandable. Jimmy Johnson was reviled around here in the early '90's because the Cowboys OWNED the Packers. Currently, the Niners OWN the Packers. (satisfied Homer?) I think part of the problem is that Harbaugh is not of this era. When Harbaugh played, coaches were more like him. They wore their emotions on their sleeve, and most of the time those emotions were some form of anger. He played for Bo. He played for Ditka. He played for Mora. Today, Belichick is the model. Stoic. So close to the vest that your actually inside the vest. The benevolent dictator stomping up and down the field with a rolled up program and a horribly abused piece of Juicy Fruit is a thing of the past, except for Harbaugh. He's been successful, to a point. In last year's Super Bowl, the talking points have become the power outage and the Niners furious second half comeback. Lost in the shuffle; the Niners weren't ready to play. In the biggest game of his career, Jim Harbaugh sent his team out on to the field of the Mercedes Benz Super Bowl flat as a pancake and they fell behind 28-6. How does that happen? I'm betting they won't be flat when they hit the field in Seattle on Sunday, but it won't matter. The Niners over hyped defense isn't very good against the run. The Packers proved that, and the Seahawks run it better than the Packers. I DO think this game comes down to quarterback play. While neither QB will have career numbers, I think Wilson will make fewer mistakes. While the crowd will not decide this game, Packer fans saw the edge that the crowd can give the Seahawks in 2012. Prior to the Fail Mary, Bruce Irvin and the Hawks pass rush terrorized #12, due at least in some part to Bryan Bulaga having to look at the center to get the snap count. I have the feeling that on Sunday, Kaepernick actually absorbs some punishment that will affect him when it matters. Non-existent Sea Fowl 24 Niners 14.
So it'll be off to New Jersey for the Patriots and Seahawks, and off to an off season of pointed questions for the Broncos and Niners.
BY BILL JOHNSON
Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens will NEVER be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Wednesday's vote make's that pretty clear. The games all time home runs leader and one of it's greatest right handers can't even get on 40% of the ballots.
The talk today is about changing the process, but that won't help Bonds, Clemens, and the others implicated with PEDs during the steroid era. Even if they open up the ballot, even if they allow Hall of Famers to vote, it won't be enough to get those tainted during the steroid era in.
It looks like Major League Baseball's all time leaders in hits(Rose) and home runs(Bonds) will never be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. These players were never disciplined during their playing careers. Bonds, Clemens, Sosa, Bagwell, Piazza…all being penalized for using PEDs during their careers. How many of those players tested positive for banned PEDs?
Remember, there was no steroid testing in MLB until 2004. Prior to that, PED use among players was similar to the use of amphetamines, known in the league as greenies. They were illegal to possess without a prescription, but since there was no testing they were regularly used by players. While steroid use only started in the late '60's and early '70's at the earliest, insiders and former players have talked about amphetamine use in baseball going back into the 1930's.
Do you believe that some of the sacred records in Major League Baseball that were set since the 1930's were aided by amphetamine use? That 28th complete game of the season? That triple in the ninth inning of game two of a double header? That diving grab in right field during the teams ninth game in nine days?
Baseball's schedule encouraged greeny abuse. Doubleheaders, long road trips, limited supervision at night… Players needed a pick me up, and it wasn't just the marginal players that used. The greatest players of all time, the men that hold the records, the men that fill the halls at Cooperstown…Many of them used greenies too.
Like other PEDs, greenies are banned today. Unlike PEDs, there was no witch hunt to seek out and expose amphetamine users after their careers had ended. Worse yet, plenty of those old players that had no problem using greenies (or stealing signs, corking bats, and throwing spitballs) also have no problem throwing the modern PED users under the bus.
I have no dog in the hunt with regard to Bonds and Clemens, other than watching each of their marvelous careers. If the Hall of Fame was filled with saints, I'd have no problem with the blackballing of the PED users.
Unfortunately, there are more sinners than saints in that building at Cooperstown. Way more.
The Hall, it's voters, and it's members come across as incredibly disingenuous and hypocritical. For me, the Hall is more tainted for not allowing these deserving players in rather than holding their collective noses and inducting them.
But it's not up to me.