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Sports Then and Now


June 11th – A Hall of Fame Birth Date

Posted on June 11, 2017 by Dean Hybl
Ernie Nevers

Ernie Nevers

There aren’t many days that mark the birth date for multiple members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but June 11th happens to be one of them. In fact, three all-time legends were all born on the date: Ernie Nevers (1903), Vince Lombardi (1913) and Joe Montana (1956).

Ernie Nevers (1903-1976) – A member of first class of Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrines, Ernie Nevers was a five-time All-Pro in five seasons for the Duluth Eskimos and Chicago Cardinals. A college star at Stanford University, Nevers was part of the NFL in the early, less structured era. In 1926 he played both ways and was on the field for 1,714 of a possible 1,740 minutes during a 29 game schedule. Playing for the Chicago Cardinals in 1929, Nevers scored all 40 points (six touchdowns and four extra points) in a 40-6 victory over the Chicago Bears. In 52 official NFL games during his five seasons, Nevers scored 38 touchdowns, while also kicking 51 extra points and seven field goals for 301 career points. During his career, Nevers served as player-coach of both the Eskimos and Cardinals.

Vince Lombardi (1913-1970) – Known as one of the greatest coaches of all-time, Vince Lombardi actually had an interesting and storied journey in football even before leading the Green Bay Packers to five NFL titles in the 1960s. As a college player at Fordham University, Lombardi was one of the famous “Seven Blocks of Granite” on the front line. After coaching at the high school level, Lombardi spent time as an assistant coach at Fordham and Army before getting his first job in the NFL. He was a 41-year-old first-time NFL assistant with the New York Giants in 1954. He served as the offensive coordinator with future Dallas Cowboys coach Tom Landry leading the defense. The Giants won the NFL title in 1956 and lost to the Colts in the famous 1958 championship game. After being rebuffed for several college and pro coaching gigs, Lombardi took over the Green Bay Packers in 1959. In his first season, he led the Packers to their first winning record since 1947. The next year they lost to the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFL Championship Game. He went on to lead the Packers to five NFL Championships as well as victories in the first two Super Bowls. Lombardi retired as head coach of the Packers after the 1967 season, but returned to the sidelines in 1969 leading the Washington Redskins to their first winning season since 1955. He passed away from stomach cancer in 1970. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971 and the Super Bowl trophy is named in his honor. Read the rest of this entry →

Tips to Make Your Next Tailgate a Smash

Posted on June 11, 2017 by Eileen O'Shanassy

Tips to Make Your Next Tailgate a SmashYou and your friends gather in the parking lot before the big concert or the game and you want to make the tailgate experience as memorable as possible. The problem is, you don’t know where to start to make your tailgate great. There are plenty of things you can do that will help you to put together a tailgate party that everyone will remember and talk about long after the event is over. Here are some great ideas for your next parking lot smash.

Have Music Everywhere

When you plan your party, be sure music is part of your planning process. Along with your vehicle stereo, you should plan on bringing extra speakers to make sure everyone hears the music. Don’t forget to bring an equipment case for your extra speakers to protect them from the potential dangers of a really good tailgate party. You can find hard protective cases that offer protection from the elements as well as travel.

Go Crazy with Themed Food

If you are tailgating before a football game, go for the classic football food. Chips, soda, veggies, and hotdogs are staples that never go out of style. You can also theme your food with the event and get creative with football cupcakes, microphone kebabs and more. Food that is shaped to match the party theme is going to add plenty of character to your event. Ask everyone coming to bring along a dish so you can share in the fun. Read the rest of this entry →

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Waiting for the Weekend: Back from the Abyss

Posted on June 09, 2017 by Dean Hybl
LeBron James and Kobe Bryant each have been in the conversation about the greatest player in NBA history.

LeBron James and Kobe Bryant each have been in the conversation about the greatest player in NBA history.

When I started Sports Then and Now in 2009, one of the regular features of the site was a weekly Friday column in which I took a more in-depth look at a couple hot button topics in the world of sports. You may remember that in 2009 the country was struggling with unemployment at a level unseen for many years and I, like many others, was facing a time of being under-employed and had a bit more time to share my perspective about the world of sports.

Fortunately, my battle with under-employment was short lived and now as a country our unemployment levels are at all-time lows. While I have managed to find the time to continue Sports Then and Now as a web site, I have not had the same level of time to focus on the site as I did in 2009. Though I have been fortunate to have some quality articles written either by myself or in many cases other talented writers to keep the site going, things like my weekly Friday column became a victim of my busy life that not only includes a full-time job, but two kids and right now multiple youth sports coaching gigs.

However, I recently decided that I miss having a weekly platform to share some of my musings about sports. While I admit I may have a greater affinity for my work than deserved, I hope that my nearly 50 years as a sports fan as well as my training as a journalist makes my efforts at least somewhat entertaining.

Regardless, I have decided that beginning with this week, it is time to bring “Waiting for the Weekend” back after a seven year “sabbatical.” I promise to weekly give some thoughts and ideas about the current happenings in the world of sports, tie them to sports history when I can, and make them as entertaining as my talents allow.

So, without further delay, here we go:

Is LeBron the Greatest Ever? Does it Matter?: Even though it appears that LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers are going to fall short of a second consecutive NBA Title, the fact that LeBron is appearing in the NBA Finals for the seventh straight season has necessitated the obligatory discussions about whether he is the greatest player in NBA history.

While I have my own opinions regarding LeBron’s historical status as well as the current talent level of the NBA, the question I have for anyone who fuels the discussion is why does it matter? When I was a kid we heard stories about the greatest from the early generations of NBA history including George Mikan, Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West, Bob Cousy and Oscar Robertson. In the 1970s, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Julius Erving ruled the day. In the 1980s it was Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. The 1990s were dominated by Michael Jordan with Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson and Karl Malone among those earning honorable mention. In the 2000s it was Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and Shaquille O’Neal ruling the land before LeBron took over.

The point is that regardless of what generation you connect with, there were NBA players who stood out above the crowd and were the best of that era.

Just given the physical evolution of the game and the methods of physical fitness, there is no question that LeBron James has a level of physical ability and skill that is unmatched in basketball history. However, that doesn’t necessarily make him the greatest player ever or conversely ensure that he isn’t the greatest of all-time.

Though by the time I was old enough to follow the NBA Wilt Chamberlain was better known for making car commercials with jockey Willie Shoemaker than he was for his basketball dominance, during his peak, Chamberlain was as dominant in terms of physical ability and skills as Jordan in the 1990s or LeBron today.

However, some would argue that because Bill Russell and a Boston Celtics roster filled with stars routinely kept Chamberlain from winning a title, Russell was better and Chamberlain was flawed. Read the rest of this entry →

Latest Golf Technology To Improve Your Game

Posted on June 08, 2017 by Dominic Leon

As enamoring as the game of golf is, it has quickly evolved and drawn a lot of players, especially young ones. As the challenges and competition on the course grow, the technology has been raging ahead to meet them. In every field of golf, the latest technology offers unbelievable resources to improve your game and substantiate your effort.  Little technological marvels go on the club, gloves, your wrists, your pockets, golf balls and even in the spikes under golf shoes. So in this post, we just want to give you a whiff of what to look forward to in golf tech this year.

Golf-2017-1

The TaylorMade R15 460 driver doesn’t just look glorious, it is speed and control embodied. By simply adjusting the movable split weights at the back, you can pull a draw or a fade as the situation demands. The Callaway Epic driver is another amazing driver that adds 21 yards of shot-shape correction. This could literally annihilate strokes out of our scoreboard. Paired with these clubs is the similarly enhanced TaylorMade TP5 golf ball. This 5-layer wonder has 10 years of research behind it to provide excellent performance with every club. The premium feel and the burst of energy upon impact cleaves off strokes from your scores. Read the rest of this entry →

Top News on Stanley Cup Playoffs

Posted on June 08, 2017 by Samantha Miles

Hockey-1

It’s Stanley Cup season again! What a nice moment for avid fans and supporters of the Stanley Cup playoffs. It has been a wonderful moment of hockey season for avid fans around the globe especially during the cup last year and here we go again for another round of Stanley Cup playoffs. Major team’s Pittsburg Penguins and Nashville Predators have been starring on the game since last season and we expect an exciting bout between the two competitive hockey teams this time of the year. All are risks and efforts had been exerted by both teams especially in shifting players, planning tactics and accommodating new players so we could only hope for a tight match from these teams.

Meanwhile, it has been commonplace that sports games had been involved in legal gambling activities all around the world especially that sports had been an anticipated field of recreation for fans and audience. Sports such as horseracing, formula one, and cycling and even hockey are sites for these events where one can bet on his or her favorite player. Legalities of online sports betting in Canada had been made for a considerable time and sports such as hockey had been excellent spaces for betting and recreation. As Stanley Cup Playoffs are paving way for another great season of hockey sports, it has also played a major role in sports recreation. Here, we list down the top news for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Penguins expect Murray to bring them to success

Matt Murray at a young age of 23 had been playing as a goalie for the Penguins and had exerted hockey prowess during a previous game score of 7-0. On Monday, Penguins and huge fans are expecting him to bring success to the hockey team. Although the Nashville Predators had lost the first two games of the Stanley Cup final they are putting major efforts to support player Rinne. After which, the Game 3 resulted in a competing Pittsburgh Penguins in full defense of Murray. Penguins are still very hopeful for gaining a success in Game 4 with a pressure on star player Matt Murray who have exhibited flawless streaks on the game.

Nashville is known to have made a cult aura of supporters on their home ice games but the Penguins are never intimidated and is most accommodating to accept the challenge of a rallying crowd. Penguins have been recognized as one of the top performing hockey teams in worldwide leagues and they went to compete to other team’s home ice comfortably and bringing home the success. They are expecting to win yet another season as they have been hailed the Stanley Cup defending champion last year. Read the rest of this entry →

Welcome to the 600 Club Albert Pujols

Posted on June 04, 2017 by Dean Hybl
Albert Pujols became the 9th player in MLB history to reach 600 career home runs with a blast against the Twins on June 3rd.

Albert Pujols became the 9th player in MLB history to reach 600 career home runs with a blast against the Twins on June 3rd.

While reaching a milestone home run number is not as earthshaking news in the world of Major League Baseball as it once was, that does little to negate the impressive achievement of longtime slugger Albert Pujols. With a grand slam home run Saturday night, he became just the ninth player in major league history to reach 600 career home runs.

When Pujols first joined the St. Louis Cardinals in 2001, Major League Baseball’s 600 home run club consisted of three members in Hank Aaron (755), Babe Ruth (714) and Willie Mays (660) and had not added a new member in 30 years.

For multiple reasons that have been well chronicled, home run production has escalated in the last two decades and thus the number of players accumulating large career totals has also risen.

Beginning with Barry Bonds in 2002 and now including Pujols, six players have reached 600 home runs in the last 15 years. Bonds, who hit 509 home runs after turning 30 years old and 340 after turning 35, finished with a modern era record of 762. Alex Rodriguez completed his career with 696, Ken Griffey with 630, Jim Thome with 612 and Sammy Sosa with 609.

What is somewhat different for Pujols than the other five recent players is that he has reached the total through a long period of consistent numbers, without having one or two huge (50+) home run seasons.

During his 11 seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals, which included two World Series titles, Pujols finished in the top five in the MVP voting 10 times (three MVP Awards and ninth the other year) and hit at least 32 home runs every year with six seasons above 40 and a high of 49. He also had a .328 batting average for the Cardinals and drove home more than 100 runs 10 times. Read the rest of this entry →

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  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Paul Blair: Defensive Whiz
      May 30, 2017 | 9:21 pm

      Blair-OriolesMore than 40 years before current stalwart Adam Jones first patrolled centerfield for the Baltimore Orioles, the Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month roamed the field with grace while also providing the Orioles with timely hitting for more than a decade.

      On a team that built its strength through pitching and defense, Paul Blair fit perfectly. He is one of seven members of the Orioles from that era who won at least three Gold Gloves and is tied with Mark Belanger for the second most in team history.

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