Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Jim Johnson, (May 26, 1941 – July 28, 2009)

July 29th, 2009
Miami Beach, FL

July of 2009 has probably been the worst month on record for famous people in sports and pop culture. A partial list of those who have left us this month include Farah Fawcett, Michael Jackson, Walter Chronkite, Ed McMahon, Arturo Gatti, Steve McNair and Vernon Forrest.

But the one loss that Mr. Black is compelled to write about is Jim Johnson. There isn’t a single Eagles fan (or Philly native) that I know who hasn’t commented on his passing, and a ton of football figures agree.

“There was no fine man than Jim Johnson,” said owner Jeffrey Lurie. Ex-players agree, even eliciting a very honest and emotional blog post by Brian Dawkins, who extolled Johnson’s toughness and ability to develop schemes to make players their best.

If you can judge the character of a man by what people say when he’s gone, we’ve obviously lost a legend of the gridiron. If you need other proof, just ask any fan who has the best defense in the league over the last few years, and almost all of them would put Philly in the top three to five.

We’ll all miss the NFL Tonight highlights of the Iggles returning fumbles off the blitz for TDs, the big hits over the middle and sacks of whoever the Redskins put under center year after year.

Wishing his family the best in what’s an obviously tough time.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Just Go Away Already

July 15th, 2009
Miami Beach, FL

So it’s been a month between posts. Part of it’s laziness and part of it’s that the summer months aren’t the most interesting in the world of sports for Mr. Black. Baseball doesn’t really matter until August and outside of a few major trades/contract disputes the NFL isn’t too interesting.

But in the lull of sports called the Major League Baseball All-Star Break, one little news item caught my attention and brought me back to the keyboard.

Brett Favre.

Brett, we all know you want to stick it to the Packers. We all know how important it is that you can “give it your all” and how important it is to “make the right decision.”

We also all saw you fail miserably last year with the J-E-T-S. JETS! JETS! JETS! Then we all saw you run like hell after ripping apart the organization and costing Mangenius (#1 on the list of unfortunate nicknames in sports) his job.

So take note: You are no longer the lion in winter, the graybeard that represents the old school who does things right. You’re just another “look at me” athlete with an ego too big to survive without the cameras. Take a look and read this next paragraph slowly.

We don’t like you. Most of the fans never have. The fact that Chris Berman loves you is a pretty good clue no one else does. You never deliver in the clutch, throw too many INTs and should have left four years ago. So please, exit stage left. Now.