Apparently, I Am Not Eligible To Start For Denver Today Either

NFL rules wouldn’t allow Colin Kaepernick to help COVID-19-stricken Broncos:

The Denver Broncos not having any quarterbacks available Sunday may have been seen as an opportunity for Colin Kaepernick to play in the NFL again.

But that was never a possibility, as league rules mandate that acquired players must remain in COVID-19 isolation for six days before joining their new team.

You mean someone might have been actually interested? Nah, bro, we were just working his name into a headline again:

Then again, Denver, along with every other team, has never seemed interested in reaching out to Kaepernick.

The guy has been out of football for three years now. Let it go.

You know whom the Broncos wanted to bend the rules so they could play? A coach:

The Denver Broncos are starting undrafted rookie practice squad wide receiver Kendall Hinton at quarterback Sunday against the New Orleans Saints, but the team wanted their starting QB to be Rob Calabrese, their offensive quality control coach for the past two years, sources told ESPN on Sunday.

Denver felt that Calabrese had the strongest command of its offense and he could run the system better than anybody, sources told ESPN. The league denied those requests that were made throughout the day Saturday, saying that the Broncos could not activate a coach to their active roster. The league doesn’t want coaching staffs being storage areas for potential players, sources said.

Considering that the Broncos are playing the New Orleans Saints, who are starting gadget quarterback Taysom Hill again this week, it would almost be worth turning it on to see who does better. However, the Red Packers are playing at the same time, so Nogglestead will be tuning in to see the team that the Packers defeated in Super Bowl I instead.

UPDATE: Sorry, the quips keep coming, so I’ll add them:

  • Where is José Oquendo when you need him?
  • “And starting at quarterback, Sarah Fuller!”
  • I told my youngest, who broke and dislocated my finger with a football pass that he needed to suit up. Strangely, and disappointingly, enough, my boys are nominal Broncos fans because the oldest had friends in kindergarten who were Broncos fans. My boys have grown since then, but they still sleep under Broncos blankets and the youngest, at least, has not yet outgrown Broncos apparel. He did not believe me about having to start for the Broncos. So if the Packers game goes badly, we might well end up watching former Packer Taysom HIll.

When Your Boxing Metaphors Fail

As usual, on the day after a Chicago Bears loss, I’m prowling the Chicago newspapers’ Web sites, enjoying the rending of the sackcloths. In one such document, we get the coach offering some resigned optimism:

“When you keep fighting, a punch will normally land,” Nagy said. “And if it’s a good one — a nice little uppercut that knocks him out — then you get another and the next one is a body shot and you just keep throwing them. That’s all you can do. You stay strong.”

Technically, in boxing and mixed martial arts, you pretty much stop punching once you’ve knocked your opponent out. And on the street, if you’re so inclined because you’re a punk, you start kicking, not dropping on top of the opponent to punch his unconscious body.

But, hey, it’s Chicago. Maybe they do things differently there.

I Tried To Teach Him Hockey

I met this boy when he was a year old: John Burroughs alum Chris Booker paves unlikely football path to Ohio State.

His mother and my beautiful wife worked together, and our families had dinner together. Well, “families” might be a little misleading–my beautiful wife and I were freshly married and did not yet have children. As we had dinner together, the toddler had a Fisher Price golf club. I tried to teach him how to put both hands on the club, extend it horizontally, and say, “Cross check.”

Apparently, it didn’t stick. (Ahut, as my mother would say, a little verbal rimshot to say Did you catch the joke there?)

However, it is entirely possible now that I will be able to say in a year or two that an NFL player danced at my wedding. We have photos of little Christopher spinning on the dance floor of the reception hall. I will explain to everyone that he was already practicing his touchdown dance.

As long as he’s not a member of the Chicago Bears. If he is, I will disallow any knowledge of him and delete this post.

Multiclassing Vs. Dual-Classing

Clayton Andrews is an example of multiclassing:

Clayton Andrews doesn’t fit the stereotype for pitchers. He keeps it loose before he pitches, he’s 5 feet, 6 inches tall, and he plays in the outfield on his off days.

“I don’t really have time to be just sitting around and not doing much,” the Milwaukee Brewers prospect said.

Although most baseball players are told to concentrate on one position when they reach high school, the left-handed Andrews was encouraged to express his two-way skill set throughout his career.

Rick Ankiel, on the other hand, is an example of dual-classing:

Ankiel was a pitcher with the Cardinals from 1999 until 2001, when he found himself unable to throw strikes consistently. After trying to regain his pitching form in the minor leagues and briefly returning to the majors in 2004, he switched to the outfield in early 2005. For two and a half years, he honed his skills as a hitter and fielder in the Cardinals’ minor-league system. He returned to the Cardinals on August 9, 2007.

I know, I’m an old school gamer. Kids these days only know multiclassing.

Answering Yesteryear’s Questions Today

In 2011, I asked, “Why Can’t Modern Football Players Act?

Today, Washington Redskins tight end Vernon Davis is planning his post-football career:

The producer knocked on the trailer door, needing Vernon Davis on the set. It was time for his scene, one rich with dialogue. Davis, though, needed another minute. He wasn’t done preparing.

There’s a reason Davis is entering his 14th season and remains the Washington Redskins’ No. 2 tight end at age 35. There’s also a reason he is receiving praise for what he hopes will be his post-NFL career — acting. It’s preparation.

On the set of “Hell on the Border” this January day, it meant telling the film’s producer he needed to get into character.

“When I heard that, I was so excited, like, ‘Oh, my god, this guy really came to do this movie and is prepared,'” producer Henry Penzi said. “He had a big monologue. I read it and said, ‘Oh, god, I hope he can pull it off.’ I never told him that because I didn’t want to scare anyone.”

Time will tell if he’s another Marlin Olsen or Alex Karras or merely another Brian Bosworth.

Get It Before Estate Sale Pricing Takes Effect

Overheard at Nogglestead:

“Is that Jordan Binnington?” my twelve-year-old asked.
“It’s a signed limited edition print by an artist I know in a series of 200. How much do you think it’s worth?”
“$1000,” the twelve-year-old said.
“$200,” the eleven-year-old said.

It’s only 20 bucks at his Web site, and you’ll want to get one before they’re gone, because if you wait until my estate sale, the price will have gone up dramatically.

It’s funny; “an artist I know” means “a guy who worked for a guy who sublet from a place where I worked thirteen years ago.” Matt is also second cousin once removed from Al Hirschfeld, the celebrated caricaturist from New York (according to this piece in the New York Times, but Matt’s Web site doesn’t mention the familial relationship).

So I “know” Matt less than I do the comic book artist in St. Louis; I met them both long ago and am friends with them on Facebook, but that’s what I’ve got as the equivalent of knowing everyone on the block like a noir detective since I live in the country and the other houses are far, far away.

I Was At That Game

I watched a little bit of the baseball game last night while looking to see if the hockey game had started, and the Cardinals broadcasters talked a bit about Bob Uecker, mentioning that he had been traded to the Cardinals and won a World Series with them in 1964. So I went to his Wikipedia page to learn a little more, and I read about his work with the Milwaukee Admirals:

Uecker also appeared in a series of commercials for the Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League in the mid-1990s, including one in which he re-designed the team’s uniforms to feature a garish plaid reminiscent of the loud sports coats synonymous with Uecker in the 1970s and 1980s. In February 2006, the Admirals commemorated those commercials with a special event in which the players wore the plaid jerseys during a game. The jerseys were then auctioned off to benefit charity.

Friends, I was at that hockey game.

I took a trip to Milwaukee for my birthday before the birth of my oldest child. I went to the hockey game alone. The Admirals played the Peoria Rivermen, which was the farm team for the St. Louis Blues at that time. So I was very confused as for whom I should cheer. The Admirals were in these garish yellow plaid uniforms, or the ones that looked like the St. Louis Blues.

You know, given that I haven’t been to a Blues game since my children were born, that might have been the last professional hockey game I’ve seen in person.

My New Favorite Minor League Baseball Team

I saw this story on Facebook: Trash Pandas break MiLB records, sell $500K of merch in 6 weeks:

The Rocket City Trash Pandas won’t play for another 18 months, but the team is already breaking records. Merchandise sales have beat out past Minor League Baseball records, and the team has garnered the attention of major league executives.

I was in the market for a new sweatshirt, as my current rotation of Marquette University, Northern Michigan University, St. Louis Blues, Milwaukee Admirals, and Jazz 91 sweatshirts is getting a little frayed, so I rushed right out and got one:

I’ll have to keep an eye on this little team from Alabama once they get going.

(For those of you who don’t know, Trash Panda is an Internet name for raccoon.)

Book Report: Countdown To Super Bowl by Dave Anderson (1969)

Book coverSubtitle: How Joe Namath Ruined Football. Well, no, it wasn’t Joe Namath that ruined football. It was the 1960s and the emergence of expressiveness, of personality over teamwork. Or maybe it was Pete Rozelle who made it a profitable iconic industry instead of a game people could watch and root for their favorite teams of blue collar journeymen like themselves. Or perhaps it isn’t ruined at all; perhaps I just wanted to make a snarky remark about Joe Namath and that upstart AFL team beating the Colts and Johnny U.

It is that time of year, of course: It seems that every year in August I read a football book to prepare for the season in my own fashion, just like every year after football I watch a couple of football comedies to come down from the season. In the past, I’ve read Vince Lombardi’s Run to Daylight, Jerry Kramer’s Instant Replay (twice, once in 2004 and 2015), and even Paper Lion. Run to Daylight recounts a week leading up to a game; Instant Replay covers the complete season; and Paper Lion deals with training camp. This book deals with the two weeks leading up to the third Super Bowl which pitted the Jets against the Colts, as I might have mentioned. Unlike the other books, though, this volume has a floating, free-form style that shifts between the various Jets players, some fans, Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder, and a couple of Colts players. I bet the author and perhaps even a team of researchers was embedded with both teams collecting material for this book and went with the Jets-heavy content because the Jets won. Or maybe not.

The shifting viewpoints really dampen the narrative, though, and whatever tension might be building up to the big game. Even with only a roster of 40 (as they had in those days), it rather drops a lot of names and profiles them for a paragraph or a page, and then moves on, and when the player reappears twenty or fifty pages later, you have to wonder, “Who is this guy?” So it’s complete at the expense of depth.

Anderson co-wrote two football books that I’ve read with John Madden (One Knee Equals Two Feet and All Madden), so he clearly knows football. But this book was less satisfying than the others because of its scattered narrative.

Still, not a bad read.

Interesting note that I flagged:

Don Weiss, the slim public relations director from Commissioner Pete Rozelle’s office, had supervised the issuance of credentials to 367 sportswriters, 253 photographers and 214 radio and TV people–a total of 834. (About 200 newsmen are accredited in Vietnam.)

This is the only mention of politics or The War in the book. As I said in my first review of Instant Replay:

Since the book chronicles an era before my birth, part of its charm lies in its details about a world I’d never know. Green Bay and Milwaukee described in the late 1960s and no mention of the War in Viet fucking Nam, man. Which differs, strangely, from the football season 2004, where the whole world’s talking about that war.

Or, in 2018, made up concerns.

Ah, the good old days, where not everything was political.

I Would Never Get A Jersey From Those Filthy Chicago Blackhawks, But If I Did

It would be #90, Scott Foster.

Emergency goalie Scott Foster shuts door for Blackhawks against Jets:

Scott Foster thought it was going to be just another night. Then the 36-year-old accountant signed a contract, put on his goaltender gear and waited in Chicago’s locker room. Then he got into the game.

Then, it was his night.

Foster was pressed into action when Chicago lost Anton Forsberg and Collin Delia to injuries, and the former college goalie stopped all seven shots he faced over the final 14 minutes of the Blackhawks’ 6-2 victory over the playoff-bound Winnipeg Jets on Thursday.

“This is something that no one can ever take away from me,” Foster said. “It’s something that I can go home and tell my kids and they can tell their friends. … Just a ton of fun.”

Foster is part of a crew of recreational goaltenders who staff Chicago’s home games in case of emergencies for either team. But it usually just means a nice dinner and a night in the press box watching the world’s best players compete at hockey’s highest level.

I’m surprised they actually had a jersey for him. I would have expected them to simply put him in the only numbered jersey in his size kind of like they do on my son’s middle school basketball team.

Nice Try; Now Read A Book

A sportswriter swings and misses on a metaphor:

The Packers’ running back group is packed to the brim with distinct inexperience, unmistakable intrigue and alluring potential – creating a position with more mystery than most Poe novels.

Most Poe novels? You can count the novels that Edgar Allan Poe completed on one finger: The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket.

Can’t anyone here play this game?

That’s a quote from a sports figure, he explained to the sports journalists.

(Spoiler alert: I’m reading Poe now, so I’m likely to re-read that novel again in the coming weeks.)

Coach Brian J. and the Rising Death Toll

Since my wife and I support our children’s school’s sports teams, we got a purple polo shirt this year, much like the coaches wear. I thought I’d snag it, but I wore it once, and it reminded me too much about when I was actually a coach, and all the people who died.

Brian J., you’re such a reserved fellow. How did you become a little league coach? Well, friends, when my oldest son was in pre-kindergarten and kindergarten, someone in his class’s parent fielded a t-ball team. But when he went into first grade, the parents involved stopped, so I stepped up so that both of my children could play on t-ball and baseball teams. Well, I shuffled reluctantly up. By the time I’d decided to do it, it was too late to sign up teams for the city parks’ league, so I got started with the YMCA league. I told the parents in both classes to sign up for coach Noggle’s teams, and I registered for a 4-year-old team and a 6-year-old team.

But the YMCA lumped them altogether and, since we didn’t have a full team, glomped the SLS pre-K and 1st Grade team together with some six-year-olds from a local elementary school. The team had four coaches total: Coach F, Mrs. F, a realtor who looks like Dennis Quaid, and me.

Me, I was thrilled to have both of my children on the same team since it halved my number of practices and games to coach. Dennis Quaid didn’t, though, as he wanted his six-year-old to play on a competitive team, so he withdrew. Which left Coach F and me, since Mrs. F handled some administrative work, and Coach F and me ran practices and whatnot.

So I ran practices and encouraged the kids even though I generally don’t like kids (my kids generally excepted). Hard as it may be to believe, I was the loud coach, the one yelling encouragement in practices and in games, shouting “You got it!” whenever a ball was hit toward a peewee infielder or “Run, run, run! You got it!” whenever one made contact while batting (many of the yuts would hit the ball and watch it, so Coach Noggle tried to help them along).

At any rate, our blended team did their best, mostly, and it was an interesting experience. I got on well with Coach F, since he was a friendly fellow with an excellent sense of humor, which means he laughed politely at my jokes.

Then, after the season, Coach F shot Mrs. F and turned the gun on himself, leaving their newly seven-year-old reluctant baseballer to find their bodies and call 911 before school.

I didn’t bring this up with my children, and they’ve only occasionally wondered why they didn’t play baseball the next year. They weren’t really that into it, so it was only an infrequent question as the seasons passed.

Strangely, though, this is not the first time someone on a team I coached was gunned down.

Back in my college days, I was a mascot/unofficial coach for a women’s recreational team in a Milwaukee parks league. I helped out with the practices and attended all the games, providing encouragement less loud than I would 20 years later. I nicknamed one of the women “Thunderball” because she was a power hitter and because she once put another woman in the hospital with an errant throw. Thunderball lived with her husband and kids in a rough area of the city, and one afternoon as she came out of a McDonalds with her kids, a man with a gun robbed her and told her to get on her knees. I don’t know if it was moving into sexual assault or not, but she said, “Not in front of my kids.” So the bad man shot her. I don’t think they ever caught him.

I remember I wanted to write a poem about it at the time, murder on the periphery. If a tragedy or crime like that strikes close, you deal with the direct emotional impact of it. But when it’s only someone you kinda know, you think about it and get bothered by the injustice of it at a rational level but indirectly emotional, too. More outrage than direct grief. Also, the murder becomes an outsized portion of that person to you; instead of having a wealth of experiences with them to remember, you have a bit a couple things and The Murder.

But I think too much about things.

So after I wore the polo shirt from my kids’ school, I washed it and put it into my wife’s drawer. It’s a bright purple shirt, but it brings a dark cloud to me.

Peyton, Graciously

I saw this when it happened, and I chortled so much my turkey-wattle neck swayed from side to side:

I knew what it meant: That young man was unhappy because his brother would continue to overshadow him.

Peyton Manning was gracious enough to try to cover for his little brother:

“Eli’s just like me. Eli is analyzing the game. He’s thinking about whether we were going to go for two. Whether it was going to be reviewed,” Manning told CBS News.

“Eli’s kinda like me,” Manning continued. “He wasn’t gonna to relax until that final second ticked off. I’ve had a great chance to celebrate with Eli. He’s very happy and proud of me just like I’ve always been of him.”

I doubt that.

To be frank, I’ve not been an Eli Manning fan since he refused to play in San Diego.

Here’s how he looked then:

Doesn’t that look familiar?

It’s always torqued me a bit that the entitled young man has more Super Bowl rings than Aaron Rodgers or Brett Favre; I’m pleased to see he has only as many as his older brother now. And that’s only until Peyton gets one or more as a coach.

Not the Only Reason

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch sports columnist identifies a reason for empty seats at an annual Mizzou basketball game in St. Louis:

The stat that was most eye-catching from the game? Total attendance: 14,456.

Both teams entered the game with some bad losses on their records. But Missouri? Man, its fan base is apathetic because its team is often pathetic.

Missing from his explanation: the continuing ire of alumni after the recent ‘strike’ by members of the (often pathetic) football team that led to the dismissal/resignation of a couple of high-ranking administration.

University of Missouri lost a lot of goodwill from its graduates in that fiasco, and its repercussions are going to echo for years to come.

Hardware Store Shelves In St. Louis Suddenly Empty Of Pitchforks, Torches

Yadier Molina finds his way onto the list of the 20 Overrated Players of the 2015 Season

Both this author and Bernie Miklasz point to his declining offensive numbers. Perhaps they don’t know or forget that Molina was not an offensive powerhouse to begin with, and maybe, just maybe, the primary driver of his value is in his defense.

On the other hand, both are getting the links and the notoriety, so maybe they’re onto something. Not many people are sharing twee little book reports.

Undoubtedly, The New Colors Will Be Silver And Black, And The New Logo Will Be A Deer Skull

The Milwaukee Bucks are getting a new owner a new look:

Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry said Friday in a radio interview that he and co-owner Wesley Edens are strongly considering a change in the team’s traditional colors of red, green and silver.

Lasry did not say what a new color scheme would be but said, “We’re definitely looking at doing that (making a change). It does need a little bit of help.”

The most drastic change is how Milwaukee’s going to be spelled Seattle.

(The title refers to a grudge I hold for the owners of the Milwaukee Admirals who bollixed the team’s colors and logo eight years ago.)