I want to start tonight’s post with a great big thank you to the Sports Talk Social Social Community for all the kind words on my last post. It was rather humbling and I appreciate the kudos. With that being said, here is what I am looking and thinking about in the world of sports today.
We lost a giant today, Gayle Sayers, Hall of Fame RB of the Chicago Bears passed away today at the age of 77. Sayers's career was cut short after just 7 seasons in the NFL due to multiple knee injuries in 1972, but despite that, he was still inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 1977. To put his shortened career into perspective, he was Barry Sanders before there ever was a Barry Sanders, he was nicknamed the Kansas Comet, and he once scored 6 touchdowns in one NFL game. Despite his accomplishments on the field, Sayers will be remembered for what he did off the field, as he was a humble and great man and will forever be connected to Brian Piccalo, his teammate on the Bears from 1965 – 1969. During a time still going through the civil rights strife of the 1960s, then head coach/owner George Halas went against the norm in how players would be separated during training camp. Instead of the NFL norm of separating players by color he instead separated them by position, so that QB’s would room with other QB’s and RB’s would be housed with other RB’s. Sayers and Piccalo became roommates and as a result of that became close friends and in the end, as close as brothers. When Piccalo was diagnosed with Cancer in 1969, Sayers was by his side until the end when Piccalo passed away in 1970 at the way too young age of 26. The relationship and story of these two amazing men were the subjects of the motion picture Brian’s Song, starring James Caan and Billy Dee Williams as Piccalo and Sayers. It is today, considered one of the best “Sports” movies of all time and is a tear-jerker, so when you look it up and watch, make sure you have plenty of tissues on hand. Anyway, RIP Comet, Brian’s waiting for you and I am sure he has one more lead block for you to follow behind.
As I write this I have game 3 of the Stanley Cup playoffs on my TV, and as an avid Tampa Bay Lightning fan I am at times distracted from writing this post because I want to see what is going on with the game. The series is tied 1-1 and they are currently in the first period with the Bolts up 2-1. The story here is not just the game, but the fact after a 7-month absence from the team, Captain Steven Stamkos is back in the lineup and in his return, he already has a goal, his first since late February. “Stammer” as we in the Tampa Bay area like to call him is the leader of this team, normally the highest scorer, and having him back in the lineup tonight has to inject some adrenalin into not only his teammates but to the loyal fans here in Tampa Bay as well. I feel this series is going to go 7 games and there is nothing more exciting than playoff hockey. The NHL has done a fantastic job of running these playoffs in the “bubble” as it is called, both in Toronto and in Edmonton to allow the players to remain healthy and COVID-free for the duration. It has been extremely enjoyable and I will enjoy this series, whether the Lightning win or lose because it is just great to have sports back in this country, no matter if it is in a bubble or in stadiums without fans.
(post finishing note... Bolts up 5-1 with about 1 minute left in the 2nd period)
In today’s odd news, it was revealed today that Tyrod Taylor, starting QB for the Los Angeles Chargers (I still think of them as the SAN DIEGO Chargers) received a pain killer shot just before the start of their game last week against Kansas City, and while administering the shot, the team doctor actually punctured his lung!! Taylor was taken to a local hospital after this happened and rookie Justin Herbert started in his place. First of all, how did this charlatan of a doctor get a job in the NFL as a team doctor if he can't avoid puncturing a guy's lung while giving a routine pain injection? Yes, pain injections are common in the NFL when players are battling nagging injuries that are not severe enough to be placed on the injured list, it happens al of the time, so I ask again, how the hell can this happen? Because of this, Taylor is now out indefinitely and Herbert will start this week against Carolina, hoping to improve on his performance last week, which was actually pretty good for a rookie thrown in at the last minute, finishing 22/33 for 311 yards, one rushing TD and one passing TD. The Chargers played well enough to force overtime, only to lose it to a game-winning FG by Harrison Butker. I just want to add a side note to this story, in regards to Tyrod Taylor. How badly do we feel for this guy, after reviewing his history in the league, since he was replaced as starting QB due to injury in both Buffalo and Cleveland over the course of his career, only to be replaced again due to a freak accident such as a misdirected injection? If it weren’t for bad luck this guy would not have any luck at all, which is sad because he is a decent QB and deserves a show to prove himself.
Ok, with all o that, here are the Cliff’s notes version of what else I am looking at in the world of sports this week
•NASCAR – Michael Jordan is joining forces with 3-time Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin to create a single-car team for the 2021 season, hiring Bubba Wallace as their driver. Good to see MJ get into NASCAR after so many years being involved exclusively with Motorcycle racing, however, he has been a huge NASCAR fan his whole life. This venture may actually get me back to watching NASCAR on a weekly basis, it is exciting news!!
•MLB – my Indians clinched a playoff berth last night with a walk-off winner by Jose Ramirez in the 10th inning last night. The Indians have been coming on strong the end of the season with a potential AL MVP in Ramirez and a shoo-in Cy Young winner Shane Bieber. These Expanded playoffs should be pretty exciting, GO TRIBE!
•NBA conference finals heating up, Denver with a shocking game 3 win against the Lakers last night and game 4 tonight between Boston and Miami. I’m not a huge NBA fan, but I have watched passively this year because of the whole bubble thing, and it has been pretty good.
•NCAAF – the return of SEC College football is this weekend and will ramp up the excitement o the sport as we add more teams to the mix of the National Championship race, NCAA will fully be back, with the exception of the PAC-12, next month with the return of B1G football.
•NFL – Carson Wentz is STILL overrated, the Eagles need to look at the possibility of Jalen Hurts taking over…
•Did anyone else see that sweatshirt Bill Belichick was wearing at his news conference today? looks like a shirt I bought in the ’80s that I still wear today. But I guess when you have 8 Super Bowl Rings in your career, you can pretty much wear what the hell you want.
•Dion Sanders was named the Head Football Coach of Jackson State this week, and some publication decided it would be funny to post to Twitter his “coaching staff”, including Terrell Owens as WR coach, Warren Sapp as DL coach, and Dennis Thurman as DC. This report was proven to be fake, as Dion went to Twitter to immediately report it as “fake news”
Finally, on a non-sports story, new came today on the Breonna Taylor case in Louisville Kentucky. A grand jury indicted just one of the officer’s involved, charging him with "wonton" endangerment for firing his weapon into a neighboring apartment. No charges were filed specifically related to the killing of Taylor, sparking outrage and protests in Louisville tonight. I will refrain from posting my opinion here, but this decision will no doubt spark protests across the country and will reverberate within the professional sports community in the days and weeks to come.
Have a good night everyone, and remember to be kind to each other…
The Sports Nerd
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