When Frank Kush died Thursday at age 88, his obituaries featured his role in transforming Arizona State into a national football power and a university during his two decades there.’
He then had his Woody Hayes moment and punched punter Jeff Rutledge on the sidelines and was fired a year later in 1979. His players carried him off the field after his last game.
The way his career ended was obscured over the years by the memories of how he built Arizona State with his hard-nosed style of coaching.
Also overlooked was the fact that Kush leaving Arizona State wound up starting a series of events that helped lead to John Elway spending his career in Denver and ending up as the team’s general manager.
Kush was coaching the Baltimore Colts in 1983 when they had the first pick in the draft, and Elway was the obvious choice. But he let it be known he didn’t want to play in Baltimore.
Continue reading “The real reason Elway ended up in Denver? Frank Kush”
The macho culture of the NFL hasn’t been noted for being welcoming to gay players in the past.
But that may be changing.
When retired offensive lineman Ryan O’Callaghan told Outsports that he is gay this week, he was only the 11th NFL player to publicly come out according to the website. Only Michael Sam did it as an active player.
O’Callaghan hid the fact he is gay so well that nobody knew it, not anybody in the NFL or even his family. Not even his mother.
In fact, playing in the NFL was one of the ways he hid it. And he planned to commit suicide once his playing days were over because he was so conflicted that he didn’t feel he could live openly as a gay man.
Continue reading “O’Callaghan’s story shows NFL may finally be gay friendly”
Add one more name to the list of NFL players who are paying the price for the brain damage they suffered playing in the NFL.
Hall of Fame defensive lineman Warren Sapp posted a video on The Players Tribune Tuesday saying he’s losing his memory at the age of 44 and will donate his brain to the Concussion Legacy Foundation after he dies.
“I wanted this game to be better when I left than when I got into it,’’ he said.
Looking at the video, you would never guess Sapp has a problem. He sounds the same way he did as a player, when he could always talk a good game even if some of his off-field actions were problematic.
Now he is very candid about the problems he is dealing with.
Continue reading “Sapp latest victim in NFL concussion crisis”
I wonder what Charles Goodell would think of the NFL’s de facto Colin Kaepernick ban.
If you don’t recognize the name, he was named a U.S. Senator from New York in 1968 by Gov. Nelson Rockefeller to replace Bobby Kennedy after Kennedy was assassinated.
A Republican, Goodell alienated President Richard Nixon and conservative voters by coming out against the Vietnam War. He came in third in the 1970 election, as a conservative was elected in a three-way race. He also happens to be the father of current NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
“That was a valuable lesson to me – taking that position he did would be the end of his political career,’’ Goodell told the New York Times in 2010. “He was hoping people would see it was the right thing to do, but against the president’s weight, the weight of the Republican party, it would be difficult, but he did it.’’
Would Roger Goodell have done the same thing his father did?
Continue reading “Would Goodell’s father support NFL’s de facto Kaepernick ban?”
Bart Starr, Bob Griese, Terry Bradshaw, Joe Montana, Troy Aikman, John Elway and Tom Brady are members of an exclusive club.
They are the NFL quarterbacks who’ve won back-to-back Super Bowls. All are in the Hall of Fame except for Brady, who will be enshrined after he retires.
Three years ago, Russell Wilson of Seattle was a yard away from joining that club.
But the Seahawks decided not to have Wilson hand off to Marshawn Lynch on second down to get the yard that would have given the Seahawks the victory over New England and back-to-back titles.
Instead, the coaches told Wilson to throw a pass and it was intercepted and the fallout is still hanging over the Seahawks.
Continue reading “Seahawks’ problem is no run game, not Wilson”
When the AFL-NFL merger was finalized in 1970, the NFL featured nine Hall of Fame head coaches and would have had a tenth if Vince Lombardi hadn’t died that year.
The nine were Paul Brown, Chuck Noll, Tom Landry, Bud Grant, Don Shula, Weeb Ewbank, John Madden, Hank Stram and George Allen.
Flash forward to the upcoming NFL season.
At the moment, there is one sure fire Hall of Famer on the sidelines – Bill Belichick – although there’s always a chance a younger coach may emerge.
The league doesn’t have the larger-than-life figures who were great leaders on the sidelines. They have too many play-callers who don’t know how to manage the game.
Continue reading “Where have all the (great) coaches gone?”