Tag Archives: Sam Bradford

Experiencing Christmas light displays through a 2-year-old’s eyes was awesome. 2016 takes another pop cultural star before his time. And the Steelers and Packers look damn good

xmaslights-nate

There are certain things I expected I would love getting to experience through my child’s eyes one day. His first sporting event; his first steps, his first time realizing the traffic in New York City never, ever gets better. You know, the fun stuff.

But watching my boy’s first time experiencing Christmas lights was never something I thought of as being a “life moment.” For one thing, we’re, you know, Jewish. For another, we live in the city, where you get beautiful Christmas trees and some holiday lights on buildings, but not the full effect of a family putting up 43,000 lights on their property and paying off their electric bill for the next 11 months.

But Saturday night during a wonderful Hanukkah/Christmas Eve convergence, we went out to Long Island to my in-laws, and during the day we looked up where some of the best Christmas lights houses were in our area, and then drove over there.

And I have to say, Nate absolutely loved it. For most of the neighborhood he watched from his rear-facing car seat, and as we’d drive past there’d be a three-second delay and then he’d exclaim “Whoa!” after a really beautiful display.

A few times we got out and walked around, and his wide-eyed wonder and big smile as we got up-close to giant inflatable Santa, glowing reindeer, and even one light-up Elmo,  made me realize just how new the world still is to him.

It was really a pretty special sight.

**Next up today, 2016 has been a shitty year on so many fronts, but I gotta believe it’s the worst year for celebrities dying way too young that I can remember. With just five days left till we mercifully turn the page, Sunday brought news of George Michael’s death.

Only 53, he was a pretty fabulous musical talent, first with Wham! and then on his own. I about wore out my cassette copy of his huge album “Faith,” and for a while he was the biggest sex symbol in music.

Then his star faded, and we all heard about his drug use and his odd behavior in bathrooms, including an arrest at an airport in Los Angeles, and his sexuality was always kind of ambiguous.

George Michael’s music was big in millions of lives for a long time, and at only 53 it’s a tragedy he’s gone so soon.

clevelandbrownswin

**Finally today, some thoughts on the penultimate week of the NFL regular season, as I contemplate the brilliant performance by those gutty New York Jets, who only lost to New England by 38 on Saturday. Way to go, Gang Green! Can’t wait till next week!

— This is around the time of year where a few teams who’ve kind of muddled through the season get hot and go on a run to the Super Bowl. I’m awful at predicting who will play in the big ole’ Roman Numeral-fest, but right now the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers would scare me if I faced them.

The boys from Pa. scored a rip-roaring comeback win over the Ravens Sunday night (somewhere, Ed Reed and Ray Lewis wept at that last game-winning Steelers drive), and the Packers dismantled the rival Minnesota Vikings (hey how’s that Sam Bradford trade working out, Vikes?) on Saturday.

The Patriots look unbeatable and the NFC has excellent teams in the Lions, Cowboys and Falcons. But I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if we see Pittsburgh-Green Bay (and monster ratings) on the first Sunday in February.

— One team who won’t be in the Super Bowl but celebrated like they’d just won it Sunday is the Cleveland Browns. They won! No, really, the won an actual NFL football game, that counted! I was in a bar Saturday and watched the fourth quarter, and man was it painful rooting for Cleveland. The Browns tried every way possible to blow that game to the Chargers, but somehow San Diego wouldn’t take it.

Hey, I’m glad the Browns won, nobody deserves to go a whole season without a win. I just feel bad we missed the awesome juxtaposition that would’ve been the city of Cleveland winning an NBA title, getting within one run of winning a World Series, and then having an 0-16 NFL team.

— I still have no idea how the Arizona Cardinals could be this bad. Seriously, what the hell happened to that team? And how did kicker Chandler Catanzaro keep his job all season?

— Finally, gotta feel bad for Oakland Raiders fans. Finally reaching the playoffs after 14 years, then with one game left they lose MVP quarterback Derek Carr, and their season is probably toast. What an awful, awful break.

But hey Raiders fans, it could be worse: You could be Jets fans like me.

This is not normal: An extraordinary Presidential debate, starring the pig Donald Trump. Lin-Manuel Miranda kills it on “SNL.” And the Eagles crash, the Vikings soar, and I say very little about the Jets

trumpclinton

This is not normal.

You need to keep telling yourself that, my fellow Americans (and citizens of the world, wherever you’re reading this).

This is not normal in American politics. It is not normal for a Presidential candidate of a major party, during a Presidential debate 30 days before the election, to threaten to jail the other candidate.

It is not normal in American politics for a Presidential candidate of a major party to bring three women that the candidate’s spouse allegedly sexually assaulted years ago, to the debate, seat them in the front row, and use them completely as political props.

It is not normal in American politics for a Presidential candidate of a major party to so blatantly lie about the sexual assaults HE himself bragged about committing, on videotape with another idiot, and then say that’s locker room talk (I was a newspaper sportswriter for 14 years, and have been in hundreds of locker rooms. That is NOT how men in locker rooms talk.)

This is all just so f’ed up. It is not normal. It will never be normal. My head hurt and brain got scrambled so many times watching that debate Sunday night.

What I saw on the stage, and what I think millions of people saw, is a raving, incoherent madman who basically admits he’d be a dictator, has no clue about how American government works, and is a sexual criminal.

And he’s going to get 35 percent of the vote.

So many thoughts on what was, again, an extraordinarily unusual debate (You can find my thoughts, and some of the great thoughts of others I RT’ed, on my Twitter feed here.):

— First, and I cannot emphasize this enough: Trump said if he wins he will appoint a special prosecutor and make sure Hillary is put in jail.  This is how dictatorships work. This is what Putin, and Castro, and so many others have done. This cannot be allowed to slip by as “just talk.”

— Did you notice how skulking and scary Trump seemed pacing around the room, lurking behind Hillary? As one Tweeter put it: “Can someone tell the Secret Service there’s a scary, crazy man behind Hillary Clinton?”

— I thought Hillary did very well Sunday night not sinking to Trump’s level, mostly. She did get down in the gutter with him a couple of times, but I thought she did a terrific job reminding everyone of ALL the groups Trump has insulted, that it’s not just women he discussed so disgustingly on that 2005 videotape.

— She wasn’t perfect; her Abe Lincoln public/private answer was strange, and she didn’t do a great job near the end when asked to praise something about Trump. But she let him ramble and ramble and that was all she needed to do.

— I thought Anderson Cooper and Martha Raddatz, the moderators, got much stronger as the debate went on, actually challenging both candidates to answer the questions. Trump’s whining about time and “it’s 3 vs. 1” was just so juvenile. My 2-year-old would’ve been more mature up there.

— And now, a comedic interlude from noted scholar Scott Baio:

— Also, and this too will get lost because 10 other crazy things happened: Trump said he and VP nominee Mike Pence “haven’t spoken” about Russia’s involvement in Syria but he disagrees with Pence’s position.
This is such an important issue, Syria, Trump talks about it all the time, and yet he hasn’t discussed it with his VP.

— How offensive is it that Trump, when talking about African-Americans, only talks about the inner city? Does every black person in America live in an inner-city? I mean, has the man SEEN the TV show “Blackish?”

— Line of the night, from my friend Dave: “Trump makes George W. Bush look like Stephen Hawking.”

— It was so hilarious to see SO many GOP politicians pull hamstrings over the weekend, running as far away from Trump as they could after the old tape became public. So, let me get this straight: Insulting veterans, Muslims, Mexicans, Miss Universe winners, disabled reporters and others was fine by you, but talking about women this way, THAT was too much for you?

Give me a goddamn break.

— She’s winning 35-39 states, and more than 350 electoral votes, and the Democrats take back the Senate. I’ve said this since March. Nothing Sunday night changes any of it. If anything, I’m being conservative in my estimates of the Hillary landslide.

**Next up today, the creative genius that is Lin-Manuel Miranda hosted “Saturday Night Live” this weekend, and as expected he was awesome.

Though he looks radically different from how he appeared in “Hamilton,” his opening song was pretty fantastic.

The “Weehawken” line was my favorite…

vikings-5-0

**Finally today, a few thoughts on the NFL, Week 5. All I’m going to say about the Jets is that they stink in all facets of the game, they’re now 1-4, and the season is gone, and I’m really happy the New York Rangers hockey and Duke basketball seasons start real soon. As my beloved father texted during the 4th quarter of Sunday’s pathetic loss to the Steelers, “it’s actually physically painful to watch them.”

“The 2016 Jets! It’s physically painful to watch us!”

— Moving on, kind of a crushing loss for the previously-undefeated Eagles. Falling down big at Detroit, rallying back, then losing in the final two minutes, as Carson Wentz throws his first interception of his career. NFC East is going to be very interesting this year.

— Also, if you show up to the Cleveland Browns practice facility today, they’ll give you a uniform and make you the starting quarterback next week. Man oh man, that franchise is just cursed beyond belief. Every QB they throw out there gets hurt.

— Anyone expect the Minnesota Vikings to be this damn good, without Teddy Bridgewater and Adrian Peterson? They just manhandled the pretty good Texans on Sunday.

 

A great Saturday in Westchester Co., walking for a great cause and then picking pumpkins with the little guy. Insane finishes all over NFL Week 5. And why I can’t wait for Hillary vs. Bernie tomorrow night

WalkwayoverHudson.FOJ

Had a fabulous weekend slightly upstate, one of those perfect autumn weekends when you realize why James Taylor writes all those songs about fall in the Northeast.

Saturday the Lewis family went to two great events (well, one event and one outing): In the morning we attended the Friends of Jaclyn 3rd Annual Pediatric Brain Tumor Awareness Angel Walk, done over the Walkway over the Hudson pedestrian bridge in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. (pictured above)

I’ve written about my love and support for FOJ before; they’re the grassroots organization that pairs up pediatric brain tumor patients across the U.S. with college sports teams who “adopt” them, and greatly improve their quality of life, and lift their spirits.

I write stories for their website each week and have really come to so respect and appreciate what they do. Saturday’s walk honored those who have passed away from the insidious disease, and there were singers, bagpipers, and hundreds of family members, athletes and coaches there to pay tribute to those who still fight, and those who’ve passed. There was an incredibly beautiful moment at the end, when doves were released to commemorate those who’ve died. (Have you ever actually seen how beautiful a flock of doves are when they fly in formation? It took my breath away.)

After that we took the little guy to his first Harvest Festival, where he got to play with a whole heap o’ pumpkins, go on a hayride (it was a little bouncy for his liking, but still fun) and look at some farm animals from behind some chicken-wire fencing.

He was a little baffled by the whole scene, as to be expected, and some of the pumpkins were bigger than he was. But it was a great time (and cider donuts too!)

Just a terrific fall weekend all-around.

JAYCUTLER

**My weekly quick-hit NFL thoughts on a day the Jets rested, the Eagles finally woke up, and we saw a ton of great finishes:

— The NFL RedZone channel is crack cocaine, and Sunday at 3:30 I stepped up to the pipe, thank you very much. It just so happened that my boy’s nap time coincided with the last half hour of the 1 p.m. games, so I got to see the fantastic Redskins-Falcons finish (oh Kirk Cousins, from hero to zero so quickly), the great Browns comeback win over the Ravens (I know they stink, but once again, the Browns are so fun to watch), a terrific Jay Cutler throw and comeback, and the Bengals thrilling win over Seattle.

All that happened in like a half hour. And it was glorious.

— The Bengals impressed me the most; Cincinnati might really truly be for real this year. Seattle had the game won, on the road, in the fourth. Andy Dalton, I know, no one believes in him because of his playoff failures. But maybe he’s maturing into a winner? Maybe?

— It’s sad watching Brandon Weeden play QB in the NFL. It just is.

— A not-so-bold prediction: The Philadelphia Eagles will win the NFC East. They’re the best of a terrible division, and Sam Bradford will get better every week.

**Finally today, I’ve refrained for the most part at writing about the three-ring circus that is the GOP presidential field, because frankly there’s just so much crazy going on there that I don’t even know where to start, and because I know most people aren’t even paying attention to the 2016 race yet, and because I’m finding the infighting among the crazies (Carson, Trump, Cruz, etc) so hilarious, and because there’s a perfectly electable candidate who’s the only GOP candidate Dems like me are scared of (Marco Rubio) and no one in the Republican primary electorate seems to like him.

But for me, it’s time to start talking politics because tomorrow night we get the first major event of the Democratic season, the first debate. How will Hillary hold up under what I’m sure will be tough questions about emails and other topics from her, umm, colorful past? Can my original pick for this nomination, Martin O’Malley, finally do or say something to get some attention and some traction?

And most importantly, what I’m SO looking forward to seeing, is Bernie Sanders thundering away at Hillary and her sudden shift to the left. He has all kinds of material he can use against her, including her sudden shift against the Trans Pacific trade deal just announced last week, and her sudden interest in racial justice issues, and against big money in politics (she and her husband have been swimming in it for decades.)

It’s ridiculous that there will be only six Democratic debates this cycle (as of now), as Hillary pal Debbie Wasserman Schultz, head of the DNC, clearly set this up to give HRC as smooth a path as possible.

So it’s imperative that Bernie seize this moment and really show he’s a legitimate, credible alternative to her.

Get your popcorn ready. CNN, 8:30 p.m. Should be fun.

Yet another reason the NFL is better than college football

BradfordAs if we needed another reason, I give you the 2009 Oklahoma Sooners.

Let’s say you’re an Oklahoma fan. You’ve been dreaming about the season ever since last January. You wear red and white clothes all year round. You’ve been counting down the days until the first game, when your Sooners, led by Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Sam Bradford, will compete for a national title.

Then the first game comes, last Saturday against Brigham Young University.  The Sooners are doing OK, until late in the first half, when the golden boy, Bradford, gets hurt on a hard hit.  He can’t come back and play; he sprained his shoulder and is out for maybe a month.

And Oklahoma loses the game, and its poll ranking plummets to 13. And folks, their championship season is basically over right as it begins.

The Sooners won’t be able to leapfrog everyone else the rest of the season. With Bradford hurt, they’ll lose maybe one more game at least, and that will be that. No Big XII title, no national title, no nothing.

All because of one bad game and one unlucky injury on a day in early September, Oklahoma is cooked.

It’s a terrible, terrible system that college football has. In the NFL, you lose once, you get plenty more chances to make it up. There aren’t sports writers and other coaches and some idiotic computer formula deciding how good you are; the only thing that matters is how you play on the field.

I realize, as I write these words from a dwelling in the southern United Statesm that I am committing a regional sin by saying these words.

But it’s the truth. Fairness and equality are to college football what Rush Limbaugh is to the truth: a strange and foreign concept.

Five more days until the NFL season starts. The real football season. Can’t wait.

And a bit of humor for your Wednesday…

**So many athletes forget to show their personality, either on the field or off. One reason I’ve always loved tennis star Novak Djokovic is because he’s a legitimately funny guy. Monday night after he scored an easy win at the U.S. Open, he launched into his John McEnroe impersonation, which then resulted in McEnroe coming down from the broadcast booth and hitting some balls with Djokovic, as he then impersonated the Serb.

It was great stuff; check it out below.