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Sports Then and Now




Waiting For The Weekend: Football Season Is Officially Here

Posted on September 11, 2009 by Dean Hybl

Just so you know, I love baseball and I love the major championships for tennis and golf and I love NASCAR (except when Jeff Burton is struggling like he is this year) and I’m somewhat infatuated with the NBA Playoffs, but I really LOVE football season.

So, you can imagine just how happy I am that the football season has finally started. For a while I wasn’t sure if it would ever start.

Before We Get Started
Since today marks the eighth anniversary of a tragic day in the history of our country and world, I would be remiss if I didn’t start my column with an acknowledgement that sports are wonderful, but in the larger scheme they are only games and entertainment. It is days like today when we must remember what is more important, family, friends, country, values, relationships and all the other things that we hold dear.

You will see on this site a couple articles that were submitted by regular contributors to this site. These are heartfelt stories and I hope you will read them with as much interest as any game story or player feature.

I especially encourage you to take a minute to read the amazing story written by Julia Civin, the 18-year old daughter of talented writer Todd Civin. You can see that his writing talent has not skipped a generation as she penned an amazing story called “When The World Decided To Share My Birthday” that is a must-read. It truly illustrates how the events of September 11 forever changed the world, even for a then-10-year-old girl.

Okay, now back to the sports.

football_spinningNot A Great Start To The NFL Season, But A Start
Not being a big fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers, the opening game of the NFL season was one of those games where I was glad that it was finally time for the season to start, but I’m really ready for Sunday.

I’m heading to Tampa Bay to spot for Compass Media Sports radio for the Buccaneers game against Dallas. I am very interested to see how the Buccaneers coach, who is amazingly 10-years younger than me, does in his first game as a head coach.

I don’t think this will be a great year in Tampa, but I hope they give Raheem Morris time to develop as a coach. Anyone who follows Tampa Bay knows that they have been sputtering their wheels ever since they allowed Rich McKay to leave and handed the reigns to Bruce Allen and Jon Gruden. That duo ran the franchise into the ground and now it will take a couple years to recover.

Speaking of being run into the ground, I am anxious to see how the Cowboys do without Terrell Owens. I very much think it will be a case of addition by subtraction, but still don’t think they will make the playoffs.

It is funny. I grew up a huge Dallas Cowboys fan during the time of Roger Staubach, Calvin Hill, Drew Pearson, Randy White and all the rest, yet somehow don’t really connect the current Cowboys and Jerry Jones to those Cowboy teams that I lived and died with.

I was glad when they won three Super Bowls in the 1990s, but wasn’t anywhere near as excited as in the 1970s. Maybe part of it is age and perspective, but I really do think there is also the sense that a big part of the Cowboys died in 1989 when Jerry Jones bought the team and unceremoniously fired Tom Landry.

I’ve spoken to other Cowboy fans from the 1970s and 1980s that have similar feelings. If you were a Cowboy fan during that time, let me know how you feel about the team today.

Waiting For The Baseball Playoffs
Is it just because my favorite baseball team (the Orioles) was basically eliminated from playoff contention on April 15th, or is the baseball season kind of anti-climatic and boring this year?

The Anaheim Angels seem to have the best chance to upset the New York Yankees in the playoffs.

The Anaheim Angels seem to have the best chance to upset the New York Yankees in the playoffs.

On paper there are only two teams with leads of more than 5 games (New York Yankees and St. Louis Cardinals), but it seems like none of the second place teams in the other divisions are really contenders to win the division.

In the American League, the Twins are just a .500 team while the Rangers have a pretty good record, but just don’t seem capable of pulling even and passing the Angels.

Heck, I’m holding out hope that the Angels are good enough to beat the Yankees and again deny the Evil Empire a title.

In the National League the Marlins have been within striking distance all year, but never seem to make a push toward the Phillies.

The Rockies could be the one team that overtakes a current division leader, but it looks like the second place team in that division will make the playoffs anyway, so not sure how much it matters.

I’m just ready for the playoffs when I can start rooting against the Yankees again in games that matter.

Birthdays
Each week we look at some current and former athletes who were born during the week.  This week I especially want to wish a Happy Birthday to my good friend, Gregg Kaye, the Commissioner of the Commonwealth Coast Conference, who was born on September 11. I also want to wish my wonderful web designer and sister-in-law Jessica Borsits a Happy Birthday as she was born on September 14th.

Here are some notable sports figures born during this week:
September 11 – Paul “Bear” Bryant (1913), Robert Wrenn (1959), Gerald Wilkins (1963)
September 12 – Jesse Owens (1913), Mickey Lolich (1940), Vernon Maxwell (1965)
September 13 – Michael Johnson (1967), Brad Johnson (1968), Bernie Williams (1968)
September 14 – Bud Palmer (1920), Kurt Gouveia (1964), Terrell Fletcher (1973)
September 15 – Gaylord Perry (1938), Dan Marino (1961), Ernest Byner (1962), Will Shields (1971)
September 16 – Elgin Baylor (1934), Jerry Pate (1953), Robin Yount (1955), Orel Hershiser (1958)
September 17 – George Blanda (1927), Maureen Connolly (1934), Phil Jackson (1945), Mark Brunell (1970)

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