Category Archives: NFL

PD’s Football Card Collection

Back in my day, we’d trade football cards. Hell, some of us had whole laminated albums dedicated to the stuff.

Since companies like Topps didn’t want to pay the NFL licensing fees for use of team logos, you’ll notice that these cards bear the names of the teams but the helmets and often the uniforms are clumsily air-brushed to hide the evidence. But how would a kid like me know that or even care? So this is how I pass the idle time these days. Eating tuna fish and rummaging through my football card collection.

Sure, Missus Neal, I'll take yer boy fishin'...

Sure, Missus Neal, I’ll take yer boy fishin’…Can’t rightly say when we’ll be back. 

47_Dave_Williams_football_card

Duuuuuhhh….durrrrrrrr……

48_Pete_Athas_football_card

I think this dude was in a porn I stumbled upon…His name was “Jacques Dough” or something.

56_Jim_O'Brien_football_card

One of the suckiest kickers in the history of the NFL, but having said that, he MADE his last second try at the end of Super Bowl V to beat the Dallas Cowboys. Fucking Jim O’Brien. Also, the man for whom “Potatoes O’Brien” were named. No one is eating “Potatoes Norwood”, are they?

58_Ken_Bowman_football_card

Even the great Vince Lombardi was never sure what Bowman meant when he would rock back and forth on the bench and mutter, “It puts the lotion on it’s skin…”

66_Jerry_Rush_football_card

This is the face of a man who literally just sniffed my mama.

67_Bryant_Salter_football_card

The loose security detail at the Murph enabled the occasional Temptation to score a little bleacher blow and don a uniform.

71_Myron_Pottios_football_card

This was taken toward the end of a pretty good career. His third team. Still, if you look closely, in the background you can faintly discern his dreams being crushed into a fine paste. 70’s Reference: Also, Larry Czonka’s cleat-mark on his chest.

81_Lance_Rentzel_football_card

“In November 1970, Rentzel was arrested for exposing himself to a 10-year-old girl in University Park, a suburb of Dallas. His wife, singer/actress Joey Heatherton, divorced him shortly thereafter. Four years earlier, as a Viking, a similar incident occurred on a Minnesota playground. He was charged with disorderly conduct in exchange for promising to seek psychiatric treatment. He was subsequently traded to the Dallas Cowboys (OF COURSE HE WAS!!!!). Preceding the 1971 season, the Cowboys traded him to the Rams for Billy Truax and Wendell Tucker. In 1973, while on probation for the indecent exposure charge, he was arrested for possession of marijuana. NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle suspended him for the entire 1973 season, but allowed him to return for a final season with the Rams in 1974 before he retired.” It’s that football-shaped head, I tell ya.

91_Mike_Tilleman_football_card

Look at that fucking head. It’s like there’s another, smaller head inside this one. LOOK AT IT!!!

95_Frank_Nunley_football_card

“Ok…….ok…….(pant….gasp……..) no more…….no more……coach, I’m done…….wait, what? I gotta pose for what?………Oh…..yeah…ok…whatever…..”

102_Mark_Nordquist_football_card

See, you think the donkey punch is bad…(Do you? Oh, you do…ok…) Prepare for the Philadelphia Double Donkey. That’s a thing now. Trust me.

112_Mike_Eischeid_football_card

“EISCHEID”. A Quinn-Martin Production. In color.
Mild-mannered Ivy League Milquetoast Mike Eischeid majors in Fornsic Accounting by day, but at night, he’s all business…and a little pleasure.
Cookie: Aw, man, this bag is short
Paco De Lorenzo: Look, Mang, joo get what joo get
(sound of screeching tires)
Mike Eischeid jumps out of driver-side window (he didn’t really have to): Looks like you started the huddle without me….
9/8 Central

117_Errol_Mann_football_card

Kicking soccer-style is going to be HUUUUGGGE.

120_Bob_James_football_card

That is one furrowed motha fuckin’ brow.

156_Gary_Cuozzo_football_card

“Hey, guys….ok…ok….no hitting…..hey hey….heh heh…..easy there, Merlin….”

157_Charlie_Krueger_football_card

I’m sorry, but there is no WAY this guy played in the NFL. This is Hoyt Axton paying off an equipment manager to impress some secretary/girlfriend he just hired/banged…

158_Tim_Foley_football_card

In what world is this an accurate portrayal of a football move? Did I accidentally upload a picture from the CFL?

190_Dave_Chapple_football_card

I got all excited and thought this might be an early outtake of that Prince basketball skit. Then I realized that this is not Dave Chappelle. Is the punter from the ’73 Rams gonna have to choke a bitch?

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Unnatural.

It’s unnatural, as I said before, to hear the word “yes” more than the word “no”, especially when you’re growing up. People like Ryan Braun, OJ Simpson, Alex Rodriguez, supernaturally gifted athletes who knew unlimited success and adoration from an early age when their gifts were recognized/exploited/harvested. When you hear these people apologize, they’re not apologizing for what they did. Tiger Woods didn’t apologize for his acts of primal self-fulfillment at any cost.

I don’t begrudge these folks their fame. Or their success. I climbed a flight of stairs the other day. I wonder if Walter Peyton ever did PEDs.

These people, Marion Jones, Lance Armstrong, etc. were simply never in a place in their lives where it was necessary or unavoidable to heed the lessons of humility, bravery, self-awareness, etc. that we are all force-fed (usually through hard life lessons like not having rent money, getting your heart broken with no sure way of knowing you’ll ever be loved again, looking in a newspaper for job prospects, etc.)

When you see them on TV, offering up cheap treacle to a waiting room of pasty-faced cyber-slaves in front of 5 or 6 foamed phalli, the stench of insincerity can waft into your soul. They’re not stupid people, but the part of their brains that  was supposed to tell them, “Uh, you might want to not put that stuff on ya…you’re not going to get away with it…” has atrophied because we did it to them. We bought the tickets, we made them heroes. We put Ben Johnson on TV. We did that. And we always will. We love that shit.

They’re not assholes, though some are. They were, from the time they could stand up, put up against friends, peers, enemies, strangers in a never-ending race to a white light. Singularly focused on the prize, shooing away the pain, the doubts, the prejudices, the personal dalliances that would blow them off course, lest they become an also-ran. Nothing sadder. It never entered their minds that they’d fail. It couldn’t.

I feel bad for those boys and girls up there in Wisconsin wearing Ryan Braun’s jersey. He seemed so likable. I’m not a baseball fan, and he may or may not be nice, but his apology, like all sports apologies, should make you feel insulted. No one is apologizing for taking the stuff. Only for getting caught. And since their mental facilities are compromised by the constant positive strokes, unlike you and me, the responses seem strange and otherworldly. Almost like English translated into another language and back again.

Is it any wonder that they’re all narcissists? Yeah, it’s kinda like being a rock star, but PEDs are ENCOURAGED in that world.  They won’t revoke your chart success if you get caught. And numbers don’t lie, unlike personal taste. They’re sold and unrelenting. Luck might get you there, but you better put up once you’re there.

Me? I’m the perfect combination of self-confidence without praise, self-aggrandizement couched in terms of faux-humility that make the unsuspecting cave in, but make anyone who’s well-read and warm to that kind of jive furious.

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Take it to the limit…one more time. Won’t you?

Remember this?

I never EVER got the little plastic men to do what I wanted them to do on that vibrating sheet of metal. Through trial and error I was able to also determine that orange peels, little army men and live kittens are equally un-coachable. But still, everyone in my neighborhood had the game. Soon, it will pass from sasha to zamani and bringing it up in conversation will no longer illicit a glimmer of an understanding smile. I dread that day.

Don Meredith died just now.

My biggest sports hero was and is Roger Staubach, and my team was and were the Cowboys. Clean cut, their steely determination, their nattily dressed, paternal overseer, Tom Landry, gently but firmly guiding the ‘Boys on to another victory. His strong, silent jaw and his ever-so-masculine hat, those little gray eyes staring at me in the darkness. Veiny, muscular hands wrapped tightly (but patiently) around that thick, hard playbook. All the secrets inside, only for Mr. Landry, Uncle Landry, to decipher. To transcend…mmm…what’s that, Uncle Landry? You think I’m gonna need to come from behind?  Ooohh…I’m gonna have to drive deep into your territory for that…oh so deep into your territory…yeah…that’s it…penalty for holding…hands to the face…oooh, you’re calling for the “shotgun” formation? I’m gonna call an audible in my trousers if you keep molesting my defensive end…looks like you’re a down lineman, flag on the play…oooh….bring in the long snapper…..© 2010 Gilbert Neal/Harlequin Books “The Coach And Me” series of Romantic Novels, All Rights Reserved…

Where was I? Ah, yes. The Cowboys were my favorite team and Roger the Dodger my favorite quarterback. My happiness on Sundays, oddly, depended largely upon their success. And even though he didn’t always win, Roger was always a sure bet to get to the playoffs, sometimes to the Superbowl, and twice in that glorious decade, winning it all! They won, which meant that I won!!! I won the Superbowl!!! Better tell Julie Pawlowski!

As with all things, the great and glorious Roger Reign ended, mostly due to the fact that his head kept getting scrambled by concussions, and after a while, the only thing he was dodging was the dreaded “How many fingers?” quiz.

Then Danny White took over, and he was great, but aside from a few games during the regular season, it just wasn’t the same. No Superbowls, not even an NFC Championship. And in the early 80’s the hated Washington Redskins were on the rise, with their Hogs, and the John Riggins, and the Joe Theismann (rhymes with ‘these men’. Why would he change it?)

In fact, during one season (1983) the Redskins seemed literally unstoppable. Scarily so. They were scoring at will, had lost only two games by the slimmest of margins, and were well on their way to a second consecutive championship, everyone thought. And the day they went to Dallas to smite my favorite team, the world held out little hope that there would be much resistance.  As a matter of fact, dear reader, I was actually imagining them never losing another football game EVER.

Come with me, my fine friends, to December 11, 1983.

I met Melissa on the CB radio. The craze had long passed, and a few hangers-on to those halcyon days remained. Mostly Broadway/Filmore trash and me, frankly. Sometimes, a new voice would shine through the din. And I would apply to ol’ charm. But this chick was different. She had known me through my sister, whose opaque nature had yet to be addressed fully. CB radio was just the means by which we spoke before meeting that first date.

I wore my cleanest outfit, washed the prime real estate (twice) and brushed ’em good. She was taking me Christmas shopping at the local big box. Was it Big R? Big N? Neisners? If only Mike Rizzo could chime in. The place on Seneca St. near the Dunkin’ Doughnuts. What was it then?  Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnyhoo, there we went.

“So…what kind of girl do you like?” she asked as we ambled past the Customer Service kiosk. Every word she uttered dripped out of her smirking countenance as if she was playing with me.

“I like a gal with child-bearing hips…” I recall offering up. What even did that mean to a teenager? She opened up her jacket and showed me her jeans, directing my eye downward (as would so often be the case in the future) and as her voice seemed to dance the words “Will these do?” I felt a stirring. I’m not gonna lie. I thought I was driving into sexy town. Population Wheeeeeee!

She was a smoking hottie, short and bespectacled, pretty and sharp. Robust. Yeah. Robust. Fecund with possibilities unspoken. Maybe about 3 years older than me. Melissa is not her real name, but I’ll be dipt in horseradish enema juice if I can remember her name. We walked. Talked. Maybe even held hands. As her attention was diverted by something frilly, I heard a hi-fi-type sound seemingly synchronized with some flashing light eminating from a few dozen redundant screens.  We passed the TV section.

Just as this happened:

 

Dallas trailed 14-10 in the third quarter and faced a 4th-and-1 from midfield. Dallas lined up, obviously trying to pull the Redskins offsides. At some point during the snap count, though, Danny White decided to audible into a running play. He handed the ball off to Ron Springs, who ran left. Washington defensive end Charles Mann crashed the right side of the line, and guard Herbert Scott could not block him. Springs lost two yards, and the Cowboys lost momentum they had gained since coming back from an early 14-0 deficit.

The video clearly shows an angry Tom Landry screaming, “No! No! No, Danny, No!”

Though the Redskins did not score immediately, the tide had turned. Later in the third quarter, Joe Theismann hit Art Monk on a 47-yard touchdown pass, and the game turned into a blowout. The Cowboys could not even stop the Redskins from performing the “fun bunch” celebration after the Monk score.

 

And that was that. The Cowboys were smoten. Smoted. Smatt. The game went downhill, and my mood changed. What had seemed like a sunshiny day full of possibilities had turned into a thick swill of cloudy confusion. What started as a nice vinaigrette with walnuts had devolved into a devil-brine with a hair in it.

Our silent ride to my house. Snowy in Buffalo. Aurora Avenue is abandoned but for us. The caked accumulation muffled the noise of the church bells ringing their unchanging repertoire out to the sinners and the repentant, washing what was once called “the ghetto of West Seneca” in its sweet, gentle rhythm as the sun ducks to hide muted light behind the dark slate of evening.

I slid over to kiss her goodbye. She pushed me away. Her last words to me:

“God…you smell like cat.”

I think I still enjoyed la petite mort in her memory that evening. Ha! Joke’s on her.

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Whatever happened to Cory and the Fins?

This song does nothing for me, but this video has 4 million hits, and I can only guess it’s because the singer might be the sexiest thing I’ve ever seen.

WHIRRR—-WHIRRRRRRRRRRR

“Buck, why can’t you call up those nice Scintas and be in their band?”

With Bootsy:

Ah. Some sherbet for your palate.

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