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Source: This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review

In life there are followers and there are leaders. There are trend-setters who would be leaders and there are people who follow whatever the latest trend is who would be faddists. Celebrity culture and pro sports is no different, is a very accurate reflection of this. Celebrities feel the need to be cool to the point they’ll follow things and claim to support things that in many cases they don’t even seem to understand. Ben Affleck, from a couple years ago where he essentially accused Bill Maher of being a racist, because Maher made critical, but accurate statements about Islam, is a perfect example of this. Even though Islam is not a race, but a religion and Muslims can be anyone of any race, since Islam is not a race, but a religion. With today’s social media and broader media culture, things can become hot and go or go viral, in an instant. And when that happens, many celebrities feel the need to be associated with it even if they don’t understand what they’re associating with. Colin Kaepernick, to me at least seems like the latest celebrity faddist and getting on the Black Lives Matter train.

This is not a debate about whether there’s racism and bigotry, as well as oppression in America. Because of course there is and we’ve had as a nation more that two-hundred years of it. This to me is a debate about whether a multi-millionaire San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick, is the right spokesperson to address this issue. Who’ll be paid eleven-million-dollars by the 49ers this season to be there starting QB. A man who has taken advantage of every opportunity he’s had in America as an individual to live in freedom and become filthy rich. Oppression in America, again goes back more than two-hundred years starting with American-Indians. And then Africans being kidnapped from Africa and brought over to be the slaves of European-Americans who the land of the American-Indians. To women of all races not having the right to vote in America until a hundred-years ago. To Jewish and other European immigrants, being denied access in America by Anglo-Saxons, simply because their ethnicity and religion was different from English-Americans. To Latinos and Asians as well. With the Japanese, as well as German and Italian-Americans, being kidnapped and forced into concentration camps. Because the U.S. Government saw them as traitors during World War II.

Colin Kaepernick, has been in the NFL since 2012 and has been a millionaire his whole career. America didn’t wake up to oppression when the Black Lives Matter moment started in 2014. We’ve known about it for over two-hundred-years. That is anyone who took and passed American history in high school. Mr. Kaepernick has had all this time to let his thoughts and views be known about racism and oppression in America. And waits till now when the Black Lives Matter becomes popular and not only that, but isn’t putting himself at risk here at all. The 49ers won’t cut him over this, because standing for the national anthem is voluntary. And the City of San Francisco is a capital of fads and trends and pop culture and leftist hippies who applaud anyone who takes on anyone they see as ‘The Man.’ If Mr. Kaepernick loses his job this season, it will have nothing to do with the fact that he supposedly took a stand against oppression. But that he once again failed to perform, and the 49ers have another mediocre or bad season. And head coach Chip Kelly decides to go in a different direction as a result.

Colin Kaepernick, showed no more courage in not standing for a national anthem for a country that has given him no much opportunity as someone who is African-American, to be very successful, than millions of teenagers who bought and wore Malcolm X hats in the early 1990s when the Malcolm X movie came out. Claiming to support a man they probably never even heard of before that movie came out. And perhaps don’t have much knowledge about who Minister Malcolm is today. Someone who I have a lot of respect for an learned a lot about. What Mr. Kaepernick has done here instead is make a fashion statement. And use the national anthem of a country that’s given him so much opportunity to be as successful as he had, has his target and launching point. Which makes him not different from people who eat whatever the latest hit dish is, or where whatever outfit, or claim to be behind whatever the latest movement or celebrity is. So of course he has the Freedom of Speech (even in the NFL) to do what he did. But he’s nothing more than an opportunist when it comes to oppression and fashion statements.

ABC News: World News Tonight- Colin Kaepernick Refuses To Stand During National Anthem

 

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New Orleans Saints

Source: NFL Films: New Orleans Saints 1983 Highlights: A Little Bit More

Jim Mora, gets a lot of credit for turning the New Orleans Saints into winners and a consistent playoff team for the first time in their franchise history in the late 1980s and early 1990s. And he and Jim Finks deserve a lot of credit for that, because of how the drafted and the teams that Coach Mora brought to New Orleans. That played great defense and ran the ball well with solid quarterbacking. But the Saints had been very close to becoming a very competitive team and even a playoff team and flirting with the playoffs in the late 1970s, in 78 and 79. And just missed the NFC Playoffs in 1983 under Bum Phillips. Bum, inherited a 1-15 team from 1980 and they just barely missed the playoffs in 1982 and 83. Fell back a little in 1984 finishing 7-9 and then Bum retires at the end of the 85 season.

It was not like Jim Finks and Jim Mora inherited an awful 2-14 team, or something that had almost no talent on either offense and defense. And most the talent that they did have were past their primes. Which is what Jimmy Johnson inherited with the 1989 Dallas Cowboys. Bum Phillips built the Houston Oilers into a consistent winning and playoff team that came within one game of the Super Bowl both in 78 and 79, by putting together strong tough defenses and a power running game with Earl Campbell, with a strong offensive line. Which is what he did in New Orleans by putting together the best pass defense in the NFL in 1983 that had a very good pass rush as well. With defensive end Frank Warren and rush end Rickey Jackson. And a strong power running game with George Rogers and Wayne Wilson.

The theme of the 1983 Saints was, “A Little Bit More.” Which is exactly what they needed finishing the season with an 8-8 record and coming within one game of making their first playoff appearance and having their first winning record ever. From about 1978-84 or so, they were consistently flirting with having both a winning season and making the NFC Playoffs. 1980 and 81, would be exceptions to that. They had a strong pass defense and pass rush, but gave up a lot of yards on the ground. Great power running game averaging 150 yards a game rushing, but didn’t have any great receivers. And needed to run the ball the lot to move the ball and score points. This was a team was very close, but needed “A Little Bit More.” Needed more weapons in the passing game and a stronger run defense. But the Saints under Bum Phillips improved real fast and he deserves a lot of credit for that.

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Source: ABC Sports

Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat Plus

I remember this game fairly well as a nine-year old who was already sports junky and loved football and football was probably already my favorite sport to watch. I remember looking forward to this game and then watching it. The two best teams in the NFL the Dolphins and 49ers, with the two best quarterbacks in Dan Marino and Joe Montana. And arguably the two best head coaches as well in Don Shula and Bill Walsh. Similar to 1983 with the Redskins and Oakland Raiders, this looked like a real Super Bowl matchup between two great teams. And if you’re familiar with football and this game, you also know that games aren’t played on paper and the game didn’t live up to the billing.

The difference in this Super Bowl, is that the 49ers were truly a great team. On both sides of the ball. They had the best defense in the league in the NFL in 1984. They had a great quarterback, with a lot of good receivers. Dwight Clark, Freddie Solomon, Earl Cooper and others. And a great running game as well. Their running game might have been better than their passing game. If you look at the fact that they had two Pro Bowl running backs in their backfield. In Wendell Tyler and Roger Craig. And that Roger Craig, who should be in the Hall of Fame was also a great receiver and perhaps the 49ers best receiver and a great blocker as well. The 84 49ers, you could make a case that they are the best team of all-time in the NFL.

The 1984 Dolphins, I believe were actually somewhat underrated. They weren’t a one man team with Dan Marino with a great coach in Don Shula. With no running game and no defense. They had a very good offensive line, which allowed Marino to throw the ball as much as he did and gave him the time to throw the ball as well as he did. They did have a running game at least in 84. With Woody Bennet and Tony Nathan. But losing Andra Franklin, who would’ve given them that one lead running back and a power running game was a big lost for them. And without Franklin, they didn’t have that one great running back that could put the team on his shoulders and lead them. And defensively, they gave up a lot of yards on the ground. But teams ran the ball a lot against the Dolphins in 84 to keep the Dolphins offense off the field. And the Dolphins were solid against the pass.

What I think the difference in this game is that the 49ers again were great on both sides of the ball. They ran and threw the ball very well. They had a very good strong and athletic offensive line. That pass and run blocked very well. They had a great QB obviously and also had a great defense. The best defense that the Dolphins saw during the 84 season, was against the 49ers. Who practically shut them down after the first quarter in this game. And then add that the Dolphins didn’t have a lot of speed on defense to matchup with all the 49ers receivers and had a hard time getting to Montana most of the game and the 49ers ran the ball so well in this game, meant the 49ers could move the ball up and down the field in this game. And as a result this game turned into a blowout.
ABC Sports: NFL 1984- Super Bowl 19- Miami Dolphins vs San Francisco 49ers: Full Game

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Redskins-Cowboys
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat Plus

If you look at the 1979 Redskins, not a deeply talented team with great players at every position. Their leading receiver Danny Buggs, caught 46 passes the whole season. They were primarily a power run ball control football team on offense, led by the great fullback/tailback John Riggins. With a short passing game where they threw a lot to their running backs. And a team on defense, that was solid against the pass and somewhat weak against the run, that caused many turnovers. They along with the Tampa Buccaneers were the surprised teams in the NFC in 79. Two teams expected to not do much of anything going into the season and they both won 10 games.

The Dallas Cowboys in 79, were defending NFC champions as well as NFC East champions. And were looking to get back to the Super Bowl and perhaps were the favorites going in. They were once again very good on both sides of the ball. QB Roger Staubach, at 37 and in his last season, was perhaps still the best quarterback in the NFL at this point. And he still had the great Tony Dorsett and Robert Newhouse at running back. And Tony Hill and Drew Pearson and Bill Joe Dupree as his receivers. And they still had the Doomsday Defense. With Randy White, Ed Jones, Harvey Martin and Larry Cole upfront. They were still a very good football team.

But one of the things that made the Redskins-Cowboys rivalry great in the 1970s and 80s and I believe the best rivalry in the NFL at this point, was that both teams didn’t need to be great on paper and deep in talent for the games to be great. Both teams didn’t even have to be good for these games to be great. The 3-13 Cowboys, beat the defending Super Bowl champion Redskins in 1988. And that is just one example. And this is an example of that, where the Redskins had a good record in 1979, but didn’t have great personal. But had enough good players and a few great ones and great coaching to make this team play better than their talent perhaps says they would. Which is why the Redskins played so well against the Cowboys in 79.
CBS Sports: NFL 1979-Week 16-Washington Redskins @ Dallas Cowboys-First Quarter

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LA Stadium This post was originally posted at The New Democrat Plus

This is probably the best and most accurate report I’ve seen so far about the NFL coming back to Los Angeles via the Oakland Raiders or San Diego Chargers, St. Louis Rams. Or some other club that doesn’t play in one of the big NFL glam markets, lets say. Meaning they are not in Washington, New York, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, to use as examples. Even though this report comes from The Onion. But keep in mind, The Onion’s reporting is just as accurate as Fox News. For all of you right-wingers who think The Onion makes things up.

Putting the NFL back in Los Angeles, even though it is the second biggest city in America and the second largest market in America and the biggest county in America, is about one thing and one thing only. The color green, meaning money of course. Commissioner Money Bags otherwise known as Roger Goodell sees a market of fifteen-million people and a city of four-million people. That currently doesn’t have an NFL franchise and hasn’t had one for twenty-years now. And sees all the potential for network TV money if there’s a franchise in Los Angeles. Thinking if LA has a team all the people there, or a lot of them will watch the team or teams there, plus the other football game there on Sundays.

What Commissioner Money Bags doesn’t understand is, is that Los Angeles is not exactly crying or even asking for another NFL franchise. Especially someone else’s that isn’t doing very well right now. Like the Raiders or Rams, two clubs that use to be in Los Angeles and Anaheim before they moved to Oakland and St. Louis twenty-years ago. Los Angeles, already has the NBA Lakers, MLB Dodgers, NHL Kings, that won the Stanley Cup a couple of years ago. They have both USC and UCLA football that is very popular there. So why would Los Angeles want to build a new seventy-eighty-thousand seat football stadium with hopes of drawing 40-50 thousand people a game and seeing the people shut out from watching their team on TV. Which is what happened to both the Raiders and Rams the whole time they were in the LA area.

If Commissioner Money Bags and the NFL was truly interested in making the NFL succeed in Los Angeles, they would think and act small and build on the progress that they make.

Start with preseason games in LA, neutral site regular season games between other teams like with the regular season kickoff or something.

Play the Super Bowl there again before LA gets another team.

Put a USFL spring team there and see how that club does there in the spring and summer.

And the last two things that are just as important as everything else. Put an expansion franchise in Los Angeles after everything else goes well. Instead of taking someone else’s team. So the people there can grow up with the new team and call it their own.

And only put one NFL franchise in Los Angeles. Because LA has never been a two-team NFL market and probably will never be one.

Los Angeles is Los Angeles and not New York. The cultures and people there are very different. LA is not as sports-crazed as New York or even Philadelphia and Chicago. And has a hell of a lot other things to do and keep them occupied outside of sports. Similar to San Francisco and Las Vegas. So for sports to work there, you have to think outside of how big and wealthy the market is. You have to plan and market sports very well there for them to succeed.

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Source: CBS Sports- John Riggins runs over Dallas

Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat Plus

If I’m a network TV sports executive and I got Monday Night Football on my network, I think this would be the dream matchup to have to open the new Monday Night Football season. Because the Cowboys-Redskins at this point in the NFL, you’re talking about the best current rivalry in the NFL. The two best teams in the National Football Conference, if not the NFL. They hate each other and yet respect each other. NFC East, which can be said about each team in that division, but even more so with the Cowboys-Redskins rivalry. So back then you were always talking about great football games, because both teams were good every year, both teams were very physical on both sides of the ball and they literally hated, but respected each other.

Now how about this game. The two teams from the 1982 NFC Final. The Redskins not only won the NFC, but dominated the Miami Dolphins on both sides of the ball in Super Bowl 17 to win their first Super Bowl. Tom Landry, the first or second best head coach in the NFL at this point. Only Don Shula might have been better at this point. Joe Gibbs, the best young head coach in the NFL at this point and already considered a genius at least on offense. Going into 83, the Redskins looked like the favorites to not only get back to the Super Bowl, but win their second straight. The Cowboys lost the last three NFC Finals with Danny White as their quarterback and looking to not only get back, but get back to the Super Bowl. And they still had a very good team.

So this was like a week one Super Bowl, in prime time, on ABC and ABC Sports had the best football show back then. The NFL and perhaps college football as well. Frank Gifford calling the game with Don Meredith as the lead analyst, which he was great at and had a great sense of humor as well. Howard Cosell, providing the comedic fans point of view for this game. And he was also pretty knowledgable about football and certainly knew what he was talking about. The game played at the nation’s capital in Washington at RFK Stadium. The stadium rocking and crazy like it always was, especially in prime time and for rival games like against the Cowboys, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles. This was the perfect way to kick off an NFL season.
CBS Sports: NFL 1983-Week15-Dallas Cowboys @ Washington Redskins: Full Game

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Vikings
This post was originally posted at The New Democrat Plus

1976 was probably the Rams best opportunity to beat the Vikings in the NFC Final. This was an aging Vikings team that no longer had that dominant defense that they had before, with all of their great defenders in their early or mid thirties and even older than that. The Rams were still a fairly young, but veteran team, that Chuck Knox put together in Los Angeles. That had probably one of the top four defenses in the NFL, that also had one of the better running games in the NFL as well.

But Chuck Knox was called Ground Chuck for a great reason. He ran the ball probably 35-40 times a game and at least sixty-percent of the time, or more. And didn’t utilize his other weapons on offense in the passing game. And unless you’re blowing away the defense consistently in the running game and getting big plays from that and big runs and scoring touchdowns, which the Rams didn’t do much in this game, you’re going to struggle against tough defenses. That the Vikings still had in 76, that also were good and balanced on offense.

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