Tag Archives: Tom Brady

A crazy new way to stop snoring: Electrocution! Yo-Yo Ma with a beautiful musical tribute to medical workers. And Tom Brady, gone from the Pats? Too good to be true

Hope you’re all hanging in there today, whether you’re home with your kids, or out there as a medical worker or other “required to be out and about” worker. These are scary, crazy times. Me and the boys have been going for hour-long walks outside each day since Sunday (you know, because even prisoners get some outside time), and it’s amazing how many of our neighbors we’re seeing, just walking around, trying to get some air.

I’m trying to think of a comparison for this kind of a situation, but I cannot. It’s almost like we’re living through a nuclear explosion and it’s not safe to go more than a few feet from your house, and we’re all walking around just happy to see another person. Anyway, I’ll try to keep feeding you interesting stuff here and I hope you all stay safe. On with the show.

OK, so you or your spouse has a snoring problem. You’ve tried smacking them with a pillow, sleeping on your back, using any one of a million techniques to get the noise to die down in bed and let everyone sleep.

But now, a cure has emerged! It’s something you never thought of before, and never tried before! Behold, it’s electrocuting your tongue!

No, seriously.

A British company, led by Professor Anshul Sama, a sleep disorder expert, has created an ingenious little device designed to stop a person from waking up the household by hitting the snorer’s tongue with a small electrical current.

The invention in question’s called Snoozeal, and has an impressively high success rate of 70 percent based on the trials it has conducted throughout Britain and Germany.

Here’s how it works, according to this story in LadBible: A small, crab pincer-like device is inserted into the mouth. It’s flexible enough to sit in the base of a mouth and needs to stay there for 20 minutes at a time (at any part of the day), for a total of six weeks while NOT sleeping.

A current is then passed to the device, via the app on your phone (because of course there’s an app!) which sends a small current to the areas of the tongue to tighten its floppier muscles towards the back of the throat, which is what causes a lot of snoring cases in the first place.

The app also records users’ sleep patterns and how they can improve it, as Professor Sama explains the product’s ease of use: “Many devices on offer do not work and are unpopular because they have to be worn at night.

“Even surgery doesn’t always work and increasingly it is being rationed or even banned by the NHS to save money.”

OK, this sounds incredibly bizarre; the idea that you’re doing it during the day, though, and not at night, is encouraging. I’m not sure how many people want to shock their tongue, but hey, if the snoring problem is really really bad, why not try it?

Shocking your tongue to get you to stop snoring. I love science sometimes!

Next up today, there have been a lot of musical tributes this week that are coronavirus related; from those incredible people in Italy all singing their national anthem at once, to John Legend and others doing free concerts over the Internet for people stuck at home (John even had his lovely wife Chrissy Teigen lying next to him while only wearing a towel as he sang; that certainly should boost numbers).

But I wanted to highlight this piece (above) from the incredible cellist Yo-Yo Ma, who decided to perform the Sarabande from Bach’s Cello Suite No.3, and dedicated it to all the frontline workers helping fight this crisis.

Just a gorgeous piece of music that I hope makes you smile.

***Finally today, there was some actual sports news happening Tuesday, whoo-hoo! We sports fans have been like bedouins walking through the desert since last Wednesday, so the start of NFL free agency Monday was a ginormous drink of water to quench our thirst.

Lots of big news has happened, but nothing bigger than probably the greatest quarterback of all time, a dude named Tom Brady, announcing he will leave the Patriots and go play somewhere else (it turns out it’ll be Tampa Bay, and Brady in pewter will look completely, totally weird.)

It’s close to impossible to overstate Brady’s impact on the Patriots. He played in nine Super Bowls, winning six of them. He led the Pats to 30 playoff wins (an insane number), and 16 AFC East titles, and was the best quarterback in the sport for at least 15 years. He’s clearly not what he once was, and the end of last season showed Brady to be highly mortal.

Still, he’s pretty freaking great if you put good players around him, which the Bucs will do (their skill position players are far superior to New England’s)

As a Jets fan, I’ve been hoping and praying this day would come one day. I certainly never expected it to take this long; no NFL quarterback has ever played this well for this long (Brady is 42 years old).

And now, finally, it’s here. We finally get to see if Bill Belichick is a great coach without Brady; until Mr. Giselle Bundchen came along, Belichick never won squat as a head coach. We finally see if Brady can thrive without Belichick, too.

It’ll all be fascinating to watch, when (if?) we ever get back to normal in this country.

But on behalf of all Jets fans everywhere, Tommy boy: Thank God you’re finally gone from our division. Eighteen years of misery has been enough.

The NFL Playoffs gave us only one good game, but next Sunday should be awesome. A crazy-good clairvoyant act on “America’s Got Talent.” And the Australian Open is starting, yay!

Well, you could choose to look at the NFL divisional playoff weekend we just had in one of two ways.

You can take the view that I’m sure most people will, that what’s usually a terrific, close, competitive quartet of games was mostly a dud, as the Rams, Patriots and Chiefs had easy wins, and only the Saints-Eagles game Sunday was exciting. So you could conclude that it was a boring weekend.

Or, you can take an optimistic view, and say we’ve got two massively great games scheduled for the AFC and NFC championship games next Sunday, thanks to the teams who won.

Kansas City vs. New England at Arrowhead Stadium. New Orleans vs. the L.A. Rams down in Louisiana. Should be a whole lot of fun. Both games ought to be high-scoring and down to the wire. They’ve gotta be better than what we just saw, right?

See, I’m an optimist.

Some quick-hit thoughts on the weekend’s games…

— Let’s start with the only really good game. The Eagles pounced on the Saints, 14-0 in the first quarter and damned if I didn’t start thinking, “Is Nick Foles really going to do this again, get incredibly hot and lead his team back to the Super Bowl?”
Then, New Orleans woke up, and squeaked out a 20-14 win with just enough offense. If I’m the Saints, I’m not feeling that confident these days. Drew Brees and Co. have not looked nearly as explosive the last several weeks as they had prior, and they’ve got a huge test in the Rams next week.

— The Patriots looked scary, scary good on Sunday. That was a good Chargers team they walloped, and like everyone else, I’ve run out of ways to praise the dominance of New England. Do you realize they’re about to play in the their eighth straight AFC title game? That is insane.

— The Rams didn’t quite look as impossible-to-stop Saturday night as they did earlier in the season, but man it is fun to watch them on offense. So many weapons, so smooth, and Todd Gurley in the backfield is special.

— Why oh why do instant replays in football take forever? I particularly love when the “rules analyst” every network has in the booth definitely tells us the call should go one way, then the referee on the field goes the opposite way. As Al Michaels said a few weeks ago on a telecast, the refs really are just making it up as they go along.

— I’m picking with my heart and my head for the title games. Give me the Chiefs, with home-field being a big help, and the Rams, getting it done in New Orleans. That would give us one hell of a fun Super Bowl.

**Next up today, I’m starting to get sucked back into “America’s Got Talent” again, now that they’ve got this “Champions” season going on. And so the other night I watched in amazement this act called “The Clairvoyants,” two people named Tommy and Amelie who are pretty incredible at predicting the future.

This is beyond the usual “psychic down at the corner store” kind of stuff. I’m kind of blown away by this. Watch and then pick your jaw up off the floor.

** Finally today, it’s a wonderful time of year for tennis fans like me, because after an offseason that felt like it lasted forever (OK it was only two months), pro tennis is back and more specifically, the Australian Open is here.

It began Sunday night, and the Aussie Open is notoriously hard to predict, since it’s the first Slam of the year, everyone’s healthy and fired up, and so anything can happen.

A ton of great storylines as usual this year in Melbourne, including: Can two-time defending champ Roger Federer win again, or is age finally catching up to him? Novak Djokovic dominated the second half of last season and already has won six Aussie Open titles, can anything stop him? Is Nadal healthy?

On the women’s side, things are wide open as usual. Can Naomi Osaka follow up her amazing U.S. Open title and win again? Is Serena ready to win again after losing two Slam finals last year? And is it time for Sloane Stephens or Madison Keys to triumph in Melbourne?

Nobody knows the answers. Which is why I love tennis so much.

We saw a huge upset that I was personally invested in Sunday night, as Reilly Opelka, a kid from Palm Coast, Fla., I wrote about when he was 11 and used to be taller than (he’s now a 7-footer), scored a huge upset and beat No. 9 seed John Isner.

Great kid from a great family. Very happy for him.

In my younger days I’d stay up most of the night during the Aussie Open, sacrificing sleep for tennis. Can’t do that anymore, but I’ll still love watching what I can see.

ESPN or ESPN 2, every night starting at 7. Can’t wait.


The most exciting Super Bowl of my lifetime is won, thrillingly, by the Eagles. The commercials at the Super Bowl mostly stunk. And “This Is Us” finally kills Jack, now can we move on?

Lawdy, lawdy, lawdy, that was one damn fine Super Bowl game played Sunday night.

I’ve seen lots of close Super Bowls in my life: Giants-Bills, Titans-Rams, Cardinals-Steelers, and many more. I’ve seen Super Bowls that were better played, that maybe had greater individual performances.

But I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more exciting Super Bowl than the one that was played Sunday night. Every few minutes something thrilling happened. The losing quarterback Sunday, a young whippersnapper named Tom Brady, threw for 505 yards, no interceptions, and still lost.

There were so many twists and turns in this game, and so little defense being played, that I was still certain, even down eight points with less than a minute left, that Brady and New England would come back and win.

But the Evil Empire fell short, and I know many, many long-suffering Philly fans who are delirious with joy today (and probably a little drunk).

Some rambling thoughts from my tired brain about the game, and then, some thoughts on the commercials and young Mr. Timberlake’s halftime performance.

— Nick Foles. I mean, what can you say? Guy had a great start to his career, then did bubkes for a few seasons and looked to be a career backup. Then, Eagles starter Carson Wentz gets hurt, Foles comes in and plays as well as anyone can in the playoffs. Some of the throws he made Sunday were Elway or Marino-like. Tremendous game at exactly the right time.

— And now, of course, someone like my Jets or the Browns will wildly overpay him to be their starter next year, and he’ll go back to being stinky.

— The Eagles’ play-calling was sensational, especially the wacky option pass caught by Foles in the end zone at the end of the first half. Coach Doug Pederson knew that to beat the Patriots you gotta be ballsy and always go for touchdowns. I was actually really surprised that in the final two minutes, up by five, he didn’t throw the ball on 3rd down to try to get a first down and end the game, not letting Brady get the ball back. It worked out, but wow, that was a long final minute.

— For an entirely different football perspective today, I highly encourage you to read this moving essay by Emily Kelly, wife of former NFL safety Rob Kelly, who now suffers from serious brain damage caused by playing football. I read stuff like this and I wonder, how can any parent let their kid play tackle football??

**OK, on to the REAL reason so many people who aren’t sports fans watch the Super Bowl: The commercials. I thought this was a pretty uninspired year for ads; honestly only two or three were good, I thought.

The best  was from the NFL, with New York Giants stars Odell Beckham Jr. and Eli Manning (see, Patriots fans? That should’ve been a sign it wasn’t your night.) doing a hilarious dancing routine to the song from “Dirty Dancing.”

I also thought the Budweiser “water” ad was terrific, and believe it or not I found the Dodge Ram ad, with the Martin Luther King Jr. voiceover, pretty moving.

The rest? Meh. The Amazon “Alexa loses her voice” commercial was decent. But mostly I thought the ads were so-so.

That’s OK; some years the Super Bowl itself is horrible that the commercials are all we have to look forward to. This year, the game was sensational.

— Lots of people on these here Internets were super mad about Justin Timberlake’s halftime performance, what with the whole “singing with Prince” thing, and what not. I dunno, I kind of liked JT here. He certainly did some different things, going into the stands, having the set be different at least four or five times. And him singing “I Would Die 4 U” with Prince was pretty cool.

Plus, he ended with “Can’t Stop This Feeling,” which thanks the our 3-year-old’s obsession with it, is a song we’ve heard dozens of times in our house. And I really do like it.

So I say good job, JT. Ignore the haters.

**Finally today, it’s rare I write about a TV show the day after it airs, but I love “This Is Us” and since they’ve been building toward this episode showing how Jack died for two years, I felt like I had to watch it live.

So as a warning, if you haven’t seen Sunday night’s episode, STOP READING NOW, AND COME BACK AFTER YOU WATCH IT.

Thank you. For the rest of us, I thought it was a solid episode, Mandy Moore continues to stun me with how good of an actress she is, and I’m so relieved that finally, finally, finally maybe we can move on from the incredible storyline of how Jack died, and onto more interesting stuff.

I mean, man oh man they have dragged out this man’s death for two seasons, and every single thing that happens in the show seems to always trace back to his death. Look, I get it, he was the greatest man in the history of the world, but can we tell some other stories now too, please? Thank you.

As always Sterling K. Brown’s Randall was the best part of the show; I thought the beautiful twist with the foster child and family being a grown-up Tess’ placement, and not a placement into the Pearson house, was a fabulous touch.

Kate’s speech to Toby (who I love) was also fantastic; poor dude never can measure up to her father but it seems Kate may finally be starting to give him his due.

I like “This Is Us,” a lot, I just hope we’re done being hit over the head with Jack’s death and can move on to other things. Like, for example, Kevin finally being forced to grow up, Toby and Kate’s wedding, and the continuing adventures of Randall as building super. All of those would be better than a 483rd reminder that Jack Pearson was a God among men.

The Golden Globes is dominated by women, and by Queen Oprah’s amazing speech. And the Saints and Falcons look very dangerous in NFL playoffs

I can positively report that there were, in fact, men present at the Golden Globe awards Sunday night.

I’m not sure why they were there, but they were. I saw Dwayne Johnson and Jason Bateman and I think even a few male award winners. But by all means, this year’s Golden Globes were ALL about the women.

Which is totally fine, and even welcome. With all the Hollywood sexual misconduct we’ve learned about over the past several months, it was great to see women take center stage and, almost as a group, demand better treatment.

It was a very different feel to this year’s Globes (and am I crazy or was there no “death montage?” Isn’t there usually one?), and most of the show was pretty so-so.

But then, Queen Oprah came out and blew the doors off everything that came before, and after. I’d tell you about her speech, but I wouldn’t do it justice. If this was the kickoff to her 2020 Presidential campaign (and quite honestly, I might vote for her if she ran), it was sensational. Please watch this:

As for the rest of the show, a few rambling thoughts from my brain, and as always, fashion commentary and other thoughts helpfully provided by my beautiful wife:

— Seth Meyers as host was fine, though he disappeared the last half of the show. Two great monologue jokes I loved: “For the male nominees tonight will be the first time in three months it won’t be terrifying to hear your name read out loud.” Also I liked when he said “A string of three words that could not have been better designed to infuriate our president:Hollywood Foreign Press.”

— Winners I was super happy about: Rachel Brosnahan and “The Marvelous  Mrs. Maisel” both winning. Aziz Ansari for “Master of None,” maybe the best show I saw in 2017, was a shocking win, I thought. And of course, Sterling K. Brown for “This Is Us” thrilled me. His speech at the Globes wasn’t nearly as great as his awesome Emmys speech last year, but still, pretty great.

— The on-stage speeches all paled next to Queen Oprah’s, but I thought Laura Dern gave a heartfelt one, I loved Frances MacDormand’s fierce pride, and the sheer excitement of Greta Gerwig when “Lady Bird” won was very cool to see.

— Fashion do’s and don’ts: Jennifer Aniston, Halle Berry and Sharon Stone all looked amazing. Mariah Carey looked like a Playboy Bunny who wandered off from Hef’s place. And Allison Janney? I love her to death, she can’t win enough awards for me. But that dress was hideous.

— OK, so that weird dude who was called up on stage when James Franco one, the dude who directed the movie that “The Disaster Artist” was based on? His name is Tommy Wiseau but I swear my first thought when I saw him was “Holy crap, Michael Jackson is alive???)

— Finally, while many women spoke beautifully about the importance of the “Time is Up” movement and women’s equality, it was definitely disappointing to see so few men say a word about what’s gone on in Hollywood all these years. No reason only women have to be standing up for women. I’m just sayin.’

**And now for some football talk: We had two bad games and two good games this weekend in the NFL playoffs, which is usually what happens on Wild Card weekend.

— The Saints-Panthers game was stellar on Sunday, I really felt sure Carolina was going to pull it out in the fourth quarter after Saints coach Sean Payton crazily went for it on 4th and 2 from midfield, with a five-point lead and three minutes to go. But New Orleans won a 31-26 thriller and I think the “Aints” have an excellent shot to beat the Vikings next week.

— Atlanta is probably going to beat Philly, too, because the Iggles don’t have a quarterback.  Both the NFC games should be terrific next weekend, but in the AFC? Blech.

Buffalo and Jacksonville did their best to put America to sleep Sunday; you’re going to tell me Blake Bortles is winning a road playoff game in Pittsburgh next week?  I was really pulling for the Bills Sunday but Tyrod Taylor, that was a putrid performance.

And as shocking (not) as the Titans’ comeback over the El Foldo Chiefs was, Marcus Mariota and Co. are going into Foxboro to beat Brady and Belichick? I’ll dunk a basketball in the NBA before that happens. (But that was a great block (above) the QB threw on the game-clinching Titans run).

— Poor Chiefs fans. Every time they make the playoffs and get a home game, they lose. Six straight times, over more than 20 years! It’s an impressive streak. Andy Reid, you are an amazing regular season coach. Come January, you turn into Rich Kotite.

And that’s not a pretty picture.


Wrapping up a fabulous and weird U.S. Open, where Stephens and Rafa shone and I peed next to a Hall of Famer. Remembering 9/11 on this day, always. And Week 1 in the NFL, when both NY teams stunk

So much to get to you today, I hope this blog doesn’t go 2,000 words or something. Of course I, like most of you, have loved ones living in Florida in the path of this hellacious Hurricane Irma, and I’ve been worried about them most of the weekend. Thank God so far my friends in Tampa, Miami and Orlando seem to be doing OK. But the videos and photos from the weekend were just awful. The ocean receding in Tampa? Roofs being blown off in Miami? Godspeed to all down there.

Want to write more today about the terror of hurricanes, and about my son’s 3-year-old birthday party Saturday and why it eerily felt like my wedding.

But I’ll get to that Wednesday. Today, I want to start with the U.S. Open, which was wacky, wild and wonderful. So many top players were missing this year (Serena, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka) that you knew some different names would show up in the late rounds. But Sloane Stephens? Kevin Anderson? If you had both of them playing after Labor Day, you were in the distinct minority.

Stephens was once a rising phenom in the tennis world, beating Serena at the Aussie Open three years ago and seemingly destined for the Top 5. And then… not so much. Her dedication to tennis was questioned. Stories about how she just wanted to be famous, and her attitude, were abundant. Then her results suffered, she was injured and didn’t play for nearly a year, from summer 2016 to this summer, and her ranking fell to 957.

And today she is the U.S. Open women’s champion. She was flawless on Saturday in the women’s final, pummeling Madison Keys all over the court, smiling and consoling and acting stunned at the amount of the winner’s check she earned (hey, $3.7 million IS a lot of money.)

I have no idea if this will propel Stephens into being a consistent force at Slams, or if Keys will learn from this experience of being overwhelmed on the big stage after playing so brilliantly in the semis. But I do know that both Stephens and Keys are worthy of praise and admiration today.

— I’ve seen a lot of beautiful displays of sportsmanship after a match is over, because tennis players almost always comport themselves as sportsmen (or women.) But this one, this one I’ll never forget, and will pretty hard to top. Sloane Stephens, the champion, moments after winning a Grand Slam, stands at the net consoling her sobbing good friend, Madison Keys, on the loss. Really sweet moment.

— And on the men’s side, to quote my friend Jon Wertheim, how about on Jan. 1, 2017 I told you Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal would combine to win all four Slams this year? You’d have laughed so hard and then recommended a good psychiatrist.
But it happened. Sunday Nadal put on a clinic in the final against Anderson, a 31-year-old South African who’d never gotten this far. As disappointed as I was that Federer and Nadal didn’t finally play in New York this year, in the semis, the Federer fan in me is glad they didn’t. Because Roger was shaky the whole tournament before losing, and Nadal was playing extraordinarily well, I think Rafa would’ve beaten Fed easily.

As it was, Nadal had the easiest road to a Slam, maybe ever, not having to beat even one Top 25 player. But that doesn’t matter; he was on his game and is such a worthy champ.

— So as I’ve mentioned a few times in the past few weeks I was once again fortunate enough to be credentialed as a reporter during the U.S. Open, and it was once again the best gig ever. I wrote 14 stories, for seven different newspapers, covering men’s, women’s and juniors players.
The USTA and tournament organizers make it ridiculously easy for us journalists, giving everything we could want, and you will never ever hear me complain about getting into the U.S. Open for free, receiving a meal per diem that actually goes pretty far, and getting sweet seats on every court (for a few non-marquee matches on Ashe Stadium I actually was sitting ninth row, baseline, where all the fancy people usually sit.

A couple of behind-the-scenes memories from my third straight year covering the Open:

— I peed next to NBA legend David Robinson. Not something that happens every day. I wandered into the closest bathroom near the afore-mentioned sweet Ashe Stadium seats last Tuesday, and a second after I approached the urinal I heard large footsteps, and a very large African-American male peeing to my left. He finished before me (hey, he was a Navy officer, I’m guessing he does everything fast) and as he turned away from the urinal I caught a glimpse of his face. Me and David Robinson, emptying our bladders together. Good times. (No I didn’t ask to shake his hand).

— Definite journalistic highlight was getting to ask Roger Federer a question in his pre-U.S. Open press conference. I really, really don’t get excited about talking to athletes anymore, I’m way too jaded/experienced for that. But this was Roger freaking Federer, maybe my favorite athlete of all time. So it was pretty cool.

— Got to see wheelchair tennis up close for the first time. Truly extraordinary watching what these athletes can do. Except for being allowed two bounces to return the ball, the rules are almost all the same. Watching these players spin and push themselves all around the court was inspiring.

— Finally, when I was 9 years old I watched Boris Becker win Wimbledon at 17 and I went outside my house right after the match and started hitting tennis balls against a brick wall on the side of our house. To say Becker inspired my love of this sport is an understatement.

I saw him several times walking around the Open this year, and spoke to him for 20 seconds about a match we were both watching on a TV monitor. The little kid in me was very excited about that.

**Next up, today is of course September 11, which means we should all stop and take a few minutes to think about the events of that horrible day in 2001. It’s been 16 years now, and it doesn’t seem any more real.

I watch this video (above) and a few others like it every year, and as I type this thousands and thousands of motorcycles are roaring into Manhattan as they do every year for the 9/11 ceremony, and this anniversary will never, ever be forgotten.

Sixteen years. Wow.

**Finally today, because I’ve rambled long enough in this space, I’m going to cover Week 1 of the NFL very very quickly, and briefly. Here goes:

— The Jets stink, as we expected. Fifteen more losses to go, and we get the No. 1 pick in the draft!
— The Giants might stink, which is unexpected.
— The Houston Texans hosting a home game two weeks after the worst storm in the history of the city seems crazy to me. Although this story makes me think maybe it was a necessary distraction for the city.
— Tom Brady lost at home. Always noteworthy and always puts a smile on my face.
— I can’t remember an NFL season where I was less excited for opening day. Lot of possible reasons why, but I was really just not into it.
— There are a lot of shitty, shitty quarterbacks in the NFL. Methinks Colin Kaepernick won’t be unemployed all season.

That was the greatest comeback in sports history. I hate you but I salute you, New England Patriots. There were a few good Super Bowl commercials that stood out. And “SNL” gets a hilarious Melissa McCarthy appearance.


Yeah, I got nothin.’

As the Atlanta Falcons bullied, pummeled, and bludgeoned the New England Patriots all over the field for the first 2 1/2 quarters of Super Bowl 51, I was so, so tempted to gloat. So much was I enjoying seeing my hated nemesis and their two-headed monster, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick get their butts kicked, I wanted to get excited. I want to taunt my Pats fans friends (of which I have many). I wanted to make sarcastic remarks about Bob Kraft and Trump and Brady and so much of the New England mystique getting smushed on Sunday night… but I didn’t.

Because deep, deep, deep down, I knew that even at 28-3, this game wasn’t over. I have seen this movie, this incredible Patriots movie, too many times before. Too many times has No. 12 come down and broken hearts, splintered hopes, destroyed dreams.

And so with an enormous assist from their opponents, the Patriots and their robot quarterback did it again. In the biggest Super Bowl comeback ever (biggest by 14 points!), New England won a 34-28 overtime thriller.

And I’m … spent. In disbelief at how it happened, even as I feared it might. After looking so awful for so long, the Patriots woke up. Stopped dropping passes, stopped letting Brady get hit every time he threw, and actually played a little defense of their own.

And because they did, I have to finally say it: Tom Brady is the greatest QB in NFL history. And his coach is probably the best in NFL history, too (though Lombardi and Paul Brown have some pretty good arguments).

A horrible game. An amazing final quarter. A win that will last forever. A few semi-coherent thoughts from my notes…

— I mean, there have been sports collapses before, and choke jobs, and gag jobs, and just terrible play by teams that are way ahead… but oh my goodness, the 2017 Atlanta Falcons 2nd-half Super Bowl performance will be the standard all other collapses will be judged by. For eternity. you’re up 28-3! So many times they could’ve put this game away, but the two biggest screw-ups have to be throwing the ball on 3rd and 1, when you’re inside field goal range up 28-20 and a FG pretty much wins it in the fourth quarter, and then Matt Ryan’s sack/fumble that gave the Pats life a few minutes earlier.

Just an unbelievable collapse. The Falcons’ D surrendered but it was exhausted by overtime. This loss is just as much on the offense; how do you only throw the ball to Julio Jones FOUR times??? (and on one of those he made one of the greatest catches in Super Bowl history). Just a complete and total meltdown that will forever stain all those involved.

— Somewhere Rodney Harrison, victimized by the David Tyree catch nine years ago in the Super Bowl, was smiling Sunday night. Because that Julian Edelman catch (above) was some kind of Spiderman shit, too. If there was any doubt at that point that the Pats would win, that unreal catch was it.

— Kind of amazing that after dropping so many balls the first three quarters the Pats receivers caught every freaking ball in the fourth quarter and OT. (No, I’m not bitter.)

— Is there anyone in America, except maybe Falcons owner Arthur Blank, who thought once the game went into overtime Atlanta had a chance? Nope. There was no hope, especially after Atlanta lost the OT coin toss. Those defensive players’ legs were rubber.

Lady Gaga performs during the Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl LI Halftime Show held at NRG Stadium on February 5, 2017 in Houston, TX. (Photo by Anthony Behar) *** Please Use Credit from Credit Field ***(Sipa via AP Images)

— Lady Gaga’s halftime performance was stellar and pitch-perfect. Not overly political but certainly inclusive, she performed her hits, had outstanding choreography, and a pretty fantastic finish. Well done.

— A lot of otherwise-bright people will tell you today that this was the “best Super Bowl ever.” Nonsense. It was a one-sided rout for three quarters. It was the best comeback ever, maybe the most dramatic game ever. But it was a snoozefest for a long time.

— I am so, so glad I didn’t have to cover that game and write a coherent story on deadline.

**So, the commercials. I thought they were pretty decent this year, actually. I loved the Turbo Tax Humpty Dumpty one, and I thought the Christopher Walken/Justin Timberlake ad was really clever. But the two I liked the best were the Honda ad with quotes from celebrity high school yearbooks (above) and this one, from Budweiser, about how their two founders met: Really smart and well-done.

**Finally today, this was about the only thing that could cheer me up after the Super Bowl: “Saturday Night Live” hit it out of the park again over the weekend, as Melissa McCarthy did her best Sean Spicer (White House Press secretary) impression.

Again, these things are hilarious but the real-life stuff is just so scary; Trump saying on the Super Bowl pre-game that sure, Putin’s a killer but we’ve got killers in America, too is pretty horrendous, but this passage, from this tremendous NYT story, is what will scare the hell out of me for weeks:

Mr. Bannon remains the president’s dominant adviser, despite Mr. Trump’s anger that he was not fully briefed on details of the executive order he signed giving his chief strategist a seat on the National Security Council,…

The President of the United States had NO IDEA what he was signing!!!!!!!!!!

Ugh. OK. I think I need to take some pills. Have a wonderful day.



Why I have mixed feelings about Saturday’s enormous marches across U.S. A hockey coach’s Dad does 100 straight push-ups and I’m in awe. And the Falcons and Patriots are feeling Super


This was a pretty remarkable weekend in the history of the United States.

On Friday, the 45th President of America painted a horribly dark and vile portrait of our current-day 50 state union that seems at odds with reality.

Then on Saturday, millions upon millions of women, white, black and brown, old and young, marched in cities large and small across this nation that’s already great in opposition to the vile man who was just elected, vowing to fight him every step of the way. Men marched as well, and bless them too, but this was overwhelmingly a female statement.

Saturday night the new President and his press secretary chose not to usher in a fresh start and offer a new vision, but instead bitched and moaned at the press, then uttered bald-faced lies.

I don’t want to talk about Trump and his “alternative facts” today, there’ll be plenty of time for that.

I want to talk about the Women’s March, and why it left me with mixed feelings. On the one hand, it was amazing, beautiful, sensational and moving. I’m thrilled beyond belief that so many individuals availed themselves of our right to protest, and spoke loudly and clearly that the new President has many, many opponents.

I just … I just wish the millions who marched Saturday also stayed active and called their local representatives, and lobbied Congress, and ran for office themselves. Because as wonderful as Saturday was, it doesn’t change that the GOP controls 68 out of 100 state legislatures right now, and 31 governorships, and have both houses of Congress and the Presidency.

And that’s where the sausage gets made, the laws that restrict voting rights and have done a powerful job denying women’s rights to their own bodies, and have completely corrupted campaign finance reform, and horribly mismanaged our criminal justice system so a guy is in jail for 40 years for selling an ounce of pot.

That’s where the long-lasting impact of Saturday can lie. The march will be for naught unless we effect small, incremental changes at the lowest levels, and build from the way up. That’s what the Koch brothers realized in the 1980s, and look what they’ve wrought.

Don’t just be fired up and involved in political change once every four years. Come out to vote in 2018’s midterms. Lobby your local officials and don’t let draconian policies that greatly affect you fly under your radar.

Fighting for your rights shouldn’t be a once in a while thing when millions of others are doing it on the same day. It needs to be an every day thing if things are going to change.


**So this is pretty fantastic: Most every NHL team has a “Dad’s road trip” each season, where player’s Pops get to come on the road for a week or so, hang out with their famous kids, and watch a lot of games and beam with pride. It’s a really cool quirk and new tradition in the best sport in the world.

This, though, I’ve never seen. A man named Kenichi Ohashi, father of a Caps’ assistant coach, told the team he’d do 100 pushups if they won on Saturday. They won, so he did.

I’m in awe, Mr. Ohashi. Absolute awe.


**Finally today, the Super Bowl is set, and it’s a matchup we’ve never seen before, which is always nice. But the bleepin’ New England Patriots are in it, which for me isn’t so nice.

A team that hasn’t been in the big game for 18 years, the Atlanta Falcons, destroyed Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers Sunday afternoon, 44-21, and it wasn’t that close.

I’m happy for Matt Ryan, who has presided over some pretty terrible playoff losses in his career and finally has won a big one. I’m happy for two guys I used to cover or write about, Eric Weems and Ricardo Allen, both from Daytona Beach, Fla., who will get the awesome experience of playing in the Super Bowl.

The Falcons offense is pretty sensational; yeah the Packers had won eight in a row and had lots of injuries on defense, but Atlanta just carved them up. Julio Jones, Ryan, a fierce offensive line… the Falcons are dangerous.

And then, the Patriots. This is their, what, 34th Super Bowl in the last 10 years or something? They just keep winning and winning, and Tom Brady made a deal with the devil to stay young forever, and Coach Hoodie keeps finding these undrafted dudes who no one else likes and turns them into Jerry Rice at wide receiver (Chris Hogan, it’s your turn) and it just gets tiring rooting for this team to fail year after year.

I have no idea who’ll win the Super Bowl yet; maybe Atlanta’s offense can light up the scoreboard and make this a great game after what’s been a pretty terrible NFL postseason.

Nobody outside of New England wants to see the Pats win a fifth title. For the next two weeks, we are ALL Falcons fans, right?

After a great Thanksgiving weekend, thoughts on three notable deaths: Castro, Henderson, and Branca


I’m still pretty full from a four-day weekend of orgy-like eating and drinking, but man was it fun. So much seems to have happened since my last blog on Wednesday; want to share thoughts about the long-awaited “Gilmore Girls” reunion movie and a deep thought I had watching children of many races swimming together at our hotel pool in Baltimore.

But that will have to wait until Wednesday’s post.

Today, while trying hard to be surprised by the Jets losing to the Patriots again on Sunday (what? this Tom Brady fellow is decent at 4th-quarter comebacks?) I wanted to write about the trio of celebrity deaths last week that each deserve thinking about.

The first and by far the most consequential to the world was Fidel Castro. So much has been written since he died on Friday, so much of it outstanding, but reading this NYT obit really struck me. There was a thing I read about years ago, I can’t remember where, about assessing each person’s life by asking what their “between the commas” moment would be.

As in, when you’re reading someone’s obit, what’s the major event or accomplishment that would be in-between the commas in the first paragraph of their death story. You know, like “Eli Whitney, inventor of the cotton gin, died at 68.” Or “Harry Truman, who as U.S. President dropped nuclear bombs on Japan, died at …”

You get the idea. It’s your signature you’ve left on the world. Well, I’ve been reading obits for more than 30 years, and I’ve never quite read a “between the commas” like this one for Fidel: “Fidel Castro, the fiery apostle of revolution who brought the Cold War to the Western Hemisphere in 1959 and then defied the United States for nearly half a century as Cuba’s maximum leader, bedeviling 11 American presidents and briefly pushing the world to the brink of nuclear war, died on Friday. He was 90.”

I mean… damn. That’s one hell of legacy. Castro was a dictator, a showman, an absolutely brutal human being who somehow charmed and frightened five decades’ worth of rival world leaders.

He survived something like 600 assassination attempts, a total matched only by Batman and James Bond. He nearly, of course, brought the world to an end (or at least, to the brink of a nuclear war) in 1962, and somehow held on to power for nearly five decades, despite starving his people and isolating Cuba from the world.

Castro was a medical marvel, and there’s also the famous story that in the 1950s he had a baseball tryout with the Washington Senators. Can you imagine how the world would have changed if he’d made the team?

There has, frighteningly, been a lot of praise for Castro since his passing, including a wildly tone-deaf statement from Canadian PM Justin Trudeau. But this man should be remembered for being evil, for fomenting hatred wherever he went, and for the pain and suffering he caused millions and millions of Cubans.

I hope one of those cigars he loved are currently roasting him in the afterlife.


**Florence Henderson was, and always will be, remembered as Carol Brady. If you’re like me, one of the millions of people who loved “The Brady Bunch” through reruns, she has lived on all these years later as a loving and gentle mother to six sometimes-unruly children.

Of course we made fun of “The Brady Bunch” for its preachiness, it’s wholesomeness, and its complete detachment from reality. But dammit, Mrs. Brady’s warm smile could melt any cynicism.

Henderson later went on to be the famous Wesson Oil spokesperson and more recently, she founded a company that helped older people learn to use electronic devices like DVD players, iPhones and DVR.

She was an iconic American actress, and she will be missed. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go play ball in the house, even though Mom always said not to.

**Finally, a few words about someone you might not be as familiar with. For every great sports moment in history, there’s someone or some team on the other end of it, whose failure made it happen. Ralph Branca was a very good pitcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1950s, but like Bill Buckner after him and Fred Merkle before him, all most people remember about Branca is that he gave up one of the most famous homers in baseball history, to Bobby Thomson on Oct. 3, 1951 that won the pennant for the Giants and lost it for Brooklyn.

But Branca was so much more than that one moment. I got to interview him several times over the years and found him to be unfailingly polite, charming and always willing to talk about the one awful pitch he threw that made him famous.

Branca was incredibly accepting of Jackie Robinson when he came to the Dodgers, and had a reputation of being all class.

I hope he’s remembered for more than just one pitch.

The latest Democratic Debate was fantastic for all. Another dramatic weekend of NFL football, and I’m conflicted. And great news out of Iran, as a reporter is freed


Whew. That was one crackling, energetic, informative and substantive Democratic debate Sunday night.

If you didn’t watch, you missed a doozy. I know it was on a Sunday night of a holiday weekend, but hey, this is sadly as close to a big audience as the DNC is going to allow the primary candidates this year, and all three of them put on a hell of a debate. (here’s a 2-minute video recap)

Quick thoughts on the 2-hour affair:

— Bernie Sanders was outstanding on the economy. He had his best debate yet (yes I’m biased as a supporter of his), being forceful, shouting less and pointedly telling voters the differences between he and Hillary Clinton. He dominated on the economy, and scored morality points by refusing to talk about Bill Clinton’s sexual misconduct. He did nothing to hurt his recent rise in the polls.

— Hillary was very strong as well. She dominated on foreign policy; she wipes the floor with any candidate in either party on that one. She tried hard to paint Sanders as a position-shifter on guns and was effective in trying to say his health care plans are unrealistic. She attacked Bernie as strong as she ever has, and yet… she was still unable to explain how she’d be tough on Wall Street, when she’s taken so much of their money.

— Martin O’Malley had about two minutes to speak the whole night. Poor guy was railroaded but I thought he had some great answers, critiquing Hillary on her Wall Street ties, and on drug treatment.

— Bottom line for me: If Democratic primary voters think this election is about the economy, Bernie has a great chance to score the big upset. If it’s about terrorism or foreign policy, Hillary wins as expected.

— It’s ridiculous we’ve had only four Democratic debates, and no more before Iowa. Ridiculous.


**Next up, another dramatic weekend of NFL football, setting up a fantastic Championship Weekend next Sunday. Patriots at Broncos, with Brady and Manning facing off probably for the last time in a big game like this. And then Carolina hosting Arizona, the two best teams in the league all year going head to head. Fantastic stuff.

Couple thoughts from the weekend, and then one big thought that gave me a lot of pause, that I’ll hopefully expand on more in another post.

— That was an incredible comeback by Seattle Sunday, down 31-0 and roaring back to only lose 31-24.

— But then again, you have to also fault Seattle for getting totally destroyed in the first half. Where the hell was the defense?

— The Arizona-Green Bay game was just nuts. Nuts. Arizona finally takes the lead late, gives up a 4th and 20 to Aaron Rodgers to keep the game, alive, then this ridiculous Hail Mary (the 2nd of the year for Rodgers!) that tied it and sent it to overtime.

Then in the extra period, the Cards’ Larry Fitzgerald makes that incredible catch and run, and Arizona wins.
After the game, I went on Twitter and as usual after a big sporting event, people were losing their minds with excitement. I got caught up in it and Tweeted something to the effect of “no matter how many CTE lawsuits and concussions happen, football will survive because of awesome games like this.”

Well, my good friend and former boss Dave saw that and we got into a terrific text exchange. Dave likes to call me on things I say and write, which is good, because we all need to be checked sometimes.

His solid point Saturday night, which I am trying to square my heart with, is that he can’t really get excited about football anymore knowing the longterm damage it does to so many brains, and bodies. And he wondered how I could justify still obsessively following the NFL when I know the horrible pain it causes.

He said “I don’t think, as a society, we should simply excuse the real effects as the price of a great game.”

I’ve been thinking about that a lot for the past 24 hours. I don’t have a good response. It bothers me that I read and write about the horrors of what football does to a person, and yet scream and yell on Sundays and can’t wait for next week’s title games.

Definitely something I need to think more about. And maybe change my behavior.


**Finally today, it’s not often there’s any kind of good news out of Iran, but Saturday we finally got some in the “case” against Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, Rezaian, an Iranian-American, had been detained for more than a year on ridiculous and nonsense “spying” charges after he was reporting for the Post in Tehran.

The Iranian courts had arrested him, did God knows what to him in the notorious Evin Prison, and allegedly sentenced him to death just a few months ago.

Finally on Saturday, after months and months of negotiations, the U.S. and Iran struck a deal to release Rezaian in exchange for other Iranians held in America also being released.

It was a prisoner swap, and no one’s ready to back-slap Iran for doing a wonderful deed. But Rezaian is by all accounts a first-rate reporter who did absolutely nothing wrong, yet was imprisoned for 545 days.

Thank God he’s free.


The Jets with a stunning, thrilling win over the Patriots, as Belichick makes a rare stupid decision. “Master of None” a superb new Netflix show. And the rapist who made sure his victim got home safely.


Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow. It’s been several hours since the New York Jets pulled off an always-satisfying, and always-rare, win over the Patriots Sunday.

And I’m still jazzed. Damn, that feels good. I’ve said before that a victory over New England, since it’s so uncommon, feels like two wins instead of one. And this one certainly does.

Where to start? Well, for once Bill Belichick didn’t come off as such a genius. Coach Hoodie seemed to make major blunders throughout the game, starting with the end of the first half when he inexplicably decided not to try to score more points, with 1:50 left, 2 timeouts, and his team trailing by 7.

But Billy boy saved his best brain work for OT, when after winning the coin toss, he told his captain to say the Pats wanted to kick off. This meant, if the Jets scored a TD, New England wouldn’t get the ball at all and the game would be over.
Which is exactly what happened.
Because Ryan Fitzpatrick, God bless his journeyman soul, led the Jets downfield for a beautiful TD. I don’t know what the hell has gotten into Fitz this year, but this isn’t the QB I watched so many years in Buffalo and Houston. This guy is calm, poised, and after a shaky start, played a terrific game Sunday.

And Brandon Marshall… you complete me. I never saw Don Maynard because I wasn’t born yet, but Marshall’s the best Jets receiver of my lifetime. At least he’s having the best season of any Jets receiver of my life. He’s been so clutch, and so huge, in so many games.

The Jets defense also was fantastic, though to be fair, I think the Patriots were down to the kids from “Lucas” on the offensive line and at wideout by the end. Brady is just so fricken good, he almost pulled out a win anyway.

Ah, so much fun to beat the Pats. Now the Jets have set me up for the ultimate heartbreak: Having to beat Rex Ryan and Buffalo next week to get in. Bills, nothing to play for, Rex desperately wanting to beat his old team, Jets in a great spot… what could possibly go wrong?


**Next up, I’ve been reading and hearing over the last few weeks about how fantastic Aziz Ansari’s new Netflix comedy, “Master of None” was. I’ve seen it on a bunch of “Top 10 shows of the year” lists, my favorite TV critic Alan Sepinwall had raved about it, and word of mouth about it was great.

Still, I wasn’t a big fan of Ansari or “Parks and Rec,” his last show, so I didn’t immediately watch.

Big mistake. The wife and I have been binge-watching it this weekend and it’s absolutely terrific. We’ve seen eight episodes (of 10) and it’s getting better and better.

The show, ostensibly, is just about a single man (Ansari) in his 30’s, working as an actor, hanging out with his friends, and having adventures both in dating and professionally. But it’s much more than that.

The writing is sharp and real; the chemistry among the actors (none of whom besides Ansari are famous) is terrific, and the stories told are fascinating.

One episode has Ansari’s character, Dev, vying with another Indian actor for a role in a TV show, since “you’re only allowed one Indian per show.” Another hilarious episode has Dev and his Asian friend Kevin trying to repay their parents for giving them a great new life in America by learning about their journeys.
And maybe the best storyline so far involves Claire Danes and Noah Emmerich in guest-starring roles, playing comedy so well.

It’s the rare show that treats its audience as intelligent adults; the relationships seem real, the dialogue is really funny, and it’s just a great, great show.

Can’t wait to watch the last two episodes; this is definitely a show you should check out.

**Finally today, I’m a few weeks late on this but just got around to reading it this weekend, and it’s brave and powerful and fabulous so I wanted to share it. Alisson Wood wrote this in the New York Times Week in Review a few weeks ago, about the time she was a college student, working as a waitress in a diner, and was raped by her boss, a manager at the restaurant.

The headline “Get home safe,” my rapist said” doesn’t grab you, nothing will. After committing his sexual assault in his office, Alisson’s boss helped her into her car, then followed her home.

It took years for her to come to terms with what happened, and her essay brings forth all her emotions. It’s difficult, important writing, and it’s done very well.

Rapists come in all shapes, sizes and demeanors; the stereotypes are often very wrong.

It’s a terrific essay and I highly urge you to read it.