Environment, Heredity, Responsibility

With cynicism, I really hope that Micheal Vick has become a better person and will put this cruel and cowardly act behind him.  Most Eagle fans with natural bias feel likewise.   His act did draw attention to what is a serious problem in this country. When judging a public figure or a defendant on trial, a person must be aware of heredity and environment.  Vick fully knew his acts were wrong but perhaps his environment hardened him to its cruelty.

In self analysis, I think people should be aware of their inherited traits and surroundings during their entire life.  This helps anyone understand themselves better.  The last thing it means is to blame someone else and take no responsibility for your actions.  It does mean a stronger effort to overcome the images of the past.  Many people do not try to better themselves and this is understandable.  After all, it may take all of a person’s energy just to their heads above water.   Just do not blame your shortcomings on anybody else.  One fact holds like steel and will never change.  Each of us has inherited some nasty trait; none of us has had the ideal environment

This lack of personal responsibility may be why Freudian psychology fell into disfavor.  While his theories are still valid, the public gave them a meaning Sigmund Freud never intended.  It was not be an excuse for things such as crime, antisocial behavior, or stand pat attitudes.  Suppose a person inherited diabetes. Does that mean not seeing a doctor, getting medication, and watching your diet?

I don’t question the knowledge gained from psychoanalysis.  It has answered allot of questions and posed additional ones.   I doubt the oversimplification and exaggerated claims made for it.  Strongly implied is a loss of freedom and personal responsibility that goes with the total acceptance of it.  I want to hold people accountable for their actions rather than some fury from past history or the subconscious mind.


Jefferson Memorial

The Jefferson Memorial, like the one to Lincoln, is most impressive at night.  Here again the while marble contrasts with the sky with a few more city lights.  There is not the eerie silence and echo associated with the one to Lincoln.  The memorial  is of course much smaller.  Traffic in the back going from 14th Street to I 95 never really is sparse.  That effectively destroys any haunting echo.

This statue obviously is concerned with Jefferson’s philosophy rather than any of the personal and political conflicts he had in his life.  Thomas Jefferson has a relaxed stance with his left leg in front of the right.  He face reflects deep thought and confidence rather than inner turmoil.  
In all, the statue looks far less emotional than Lincoln.

I do not know what official document Jefferson us carrying in his left hand.  The right hand looks natural showing minimal tension.  Interesting is the coat Jefferson.  Is this to give him a more regal appearance or protect him from the elements?  If the latter condition is depicted, the document is not the Draft of the Declaration of Independence.  No one would be wearing a heavy coat in Philadelphia during July.   

Well Placed Words Can Make a Difference

James Stewart played Tom Jeffords and Jeff Chandler played Cochise in the 1950 film Broken Arrow.  Chandler was nominated for the Best Supporting Actor.  

As you get a chance, watch the first nine minutes of this watershed 1950 movie on you tube or see the entire flick.  I, of course, have this film and have played it many times.  Tom Jeffords, riding through Apache Country, spots a badly wounded Apache boy away from the stronghold on his novice mission.  The boy, 14, ran into a skirmish between the Cavalry and the Indians and has about six pieces of buck shot in  his back.  The boy is close to death as the vultures overhead have indicated. Overcoming mutual suspicion, Jeffords removes the lead over the next few hours.

After a few days, Tom tells the boy he needs additional recuperation.  The young Apache says he must go now because “…my mother is crying in the wikia…”  The stunned White Man never really believed an Apache women capable of love and worry.  Seconds later, three Apache men send arrows into the tree.  The boy says his elders have been watching, see he is not hurt, and wonder what’s going on.  Jeffords reluctantly gives up his gun and the boy hollers for the men proceed.  He yells “…this white man is my friend.”  The boys explains the situation to his elders.

There are a few minutes of  hateful dialogue.  After all, Indians and Whites have been at war in Arizona for over 10 years.   One Indians cruelly grabs Stewart’s shirt and says  “…You did not kill.  We will not kill this time-but not again.”   The other Indian gives him his gun.

Jeffords learns two things  (1) Apache women can cry over their sons and (2) the men had a sense of fairness even though they wanted to kill.  After arriving at the fort, he studies Apache ways.  Jeffords goes alone on a peace mission into the dangerous Apache Stronghold. He meets  Cochise and gradually establishes, in stages,  a shaky peace.  There are no final victories, peace wavers, and a bumpy road is ahead.  Nevertheless, things improved drastically for the better.

Isn’t it possible that people could do this, if only rarely, throughout their life.  Either through observing another person’s kind action or words you could change things for the better.  The incidents mentioned above seem small when matched against all of the Indian Wars in Arizona; by acting on incident and one  phrase, a white man started a fragile peace, which gained momentum, in Arizona.

Two Odd Statistical Games


The Minnesota Vikings at 6-3 were on the road in  Chicago to play the 4-5  Bears.   Walter Payton set an NFL rushing record for one game with 275 yards in 40 carries.  His longest run was 58 yards and he scored a touchdown.  The Bears defense pitched a shut out.  The only Viking score was a great effort from Minnesota’s Matt Blair.  He blocked a Bears punt and fell on the ball in the End Zone.  Minnesota also turned the ball over four times.

However, the Bears passed for just 33 yards.  Fran Tarkenton for Vikings was injured the previous week.  Both clubs were playing for field position; but the Bears had the big weapon.  Chicago 10 Minnesota 7


The Cleveland Browns came in Pitt Stadium at 7-1 to the Steelers  4-3-1.  Pittsburgh had 23 first downs to just 11 for Cleveland.  Total yards also went to Pittsburgh 382 to 272.  The Browns passed for only 93 yards.   The Steelers John Henry Johnson gained 129 yards to 99 for Jim Brown.  Brown gained only five yards in the second half.   With Steelers down 7 t0 0 in the third quarter,  punter Ed Brown kicked a beauty out at the Cleveland three.  Linebacker Bob Schimtz tackled Jimmy Brown in the End Zone.  The Steelers broke the ice now trailing 7 to 2.

Cleveland was making Steelers fans nervous going on a drive in the fourth quarter.  Halfback Ernie Green fumbled and Brady Keys recovered at the Pittsburgh 22.  The Steelers went on a 78 yard drive culminating with a ten yard touchdown pass from Ed Brown to Gary Ballman.  Pittsburgh won a thriller 9 to 7.  It should have been a blowout.  The Steelers

–Place Kicker Lou Micheals missed five field goals;

–Ed Brown overthrew a wide open Buddy Dial on what should have been a 40 yard touchdown;

–were stopped on downs from the Browns one.

On those days, the Pittsburgh had way a making it difficult on themselves.

11th Reason for Buddy’s Appeal

will summarize all reasons I think for Buddy Ryan’s appeal 20 years after he coached the Philadelphia Eagles.   A summary will follow since I put them all through my blog.

Buddy Ryan used a quarterback,   Randall Cunningham, as a major weapon in his ground game.  Cunningham was not the first scrambler.  That honor goes to Fran Tarkenton and later Roger Staubach.  However, both of them moved to escape sacks and left their receivers time to get open.    Those two often plowed through for short yardage anywhere on the field.    As might be expected, their skills where especially evident in goal line situations.

Randall Cunningham was in a class by himself.  Buddy Ryan used him as as a major, or perhaps the first, weapon in his ground game.  It took Fran Tarkenton 18 years to exceed 5,000 rushing in a career.   Cunningham broke that record in five years.   Randall  eluded tacklers with the ease of a halfback;  often hurdled defenders ; and never went out of bounds if he could gain additional yardage.   Some people claimed   Buddy Ryan  used him too much and neglected his strong arm.

Here are Randall Cunningham’s running statistics working for Ryan on the run.  It is amazing he lead the Birds in rushing four consecutive years.

1986-540 yards; 8.2 average-second

1987-505 yards; 6.6 average-first and remaining so until 1990

1988-624 yards; 6.7 average

1989-621 yards; 6.o average

1990-942 yards; 8.0 average

I will discuss some flaws in Cunningham later.  No one, however, can fault his running.

Blowout Wins but with Questions

Three question arise when viewing three past blowout victories.

Home vs  Green Bay 2004

Donovan McNabb was on fire in the first half with five touchdown passes.  This tied on NFL record for one half.  After a 1-4 start, somehow the Packers won six in a row.  Just how  they did so with that secondary was amazing.  Andy Reid slowed the tempo in the third quarter and settled for  four field goals.  Koy Detmer played in the fourth.  A different strategy and more playing for McNabb might have made a difference.  Four quarterbacks share the NFL record with seven touchdown passes in a game.  Donovan might have tied and broken this record.  I was not think about this at the time.

Home vs Detroit 2007

Nabb, Kevin Curtis, and Brian Westbrook were putting on a clinic and the Eagles led the Lions 35 to 7 midway in the second quarter.  Detroit scored a touchdown but the Brids were moving the ball again.  Donovan fumbled and lost the ball at  the Detroit nine.  The Lions then gave fans some anxious moments.  John Kitna completed a pass to Roy Williams for a 91 yard touchdown.  The score was now 35 to 21 but the Eagles came back.  Donovan threw a 43 yard screen pass to Westbrook and the Eagles led 42 to 21.

Then Detroit was  moving with the ball inside the Eagles 20.  Sean Considine made a big defensive  play intercepting Kitna’s pass in the End Zone.   The score would have soared even higher without McNabb’s fumble.  Considine’s interception broke the Lions momentum.  Might the outcome of the game been different?  The Eagles scored two second half touchdowns and won 56 to 21.

Away vs Washington 2010

All of us remember this night at Fed Field Ex Field.

The score was 45 to 14 at halftime .  Washington, behind 35 to 0,  scored two unanswered touchdowns, narrowing the score to 35 to 14.  All concern was  momentary as the Eagles got 10 more just as the second quarter ended.  Washington took the second kickoff and moved for a score.  45 to 21.  Warrick Calvin took the second half ensuing kickoff  and the ball came loose.  Getting a good bounce, Calvin fell on the ball.   Had Washington recovered the fumble, might the game have changed?        

First Game that Made College Football

To me, college football became big business when Notre Dame beat Oklahoma 7 to 0 in 1957.  This game was on national television on the Game of the Week on NBC.  Lindsey Nelson and Red Grange  were announcing.   This game broke the Oklahoma Sooners 47 game winning streak dating back to 1953.  Ironically, the Irish’s 27-21 win over the Sooners at South Bend in ’52 and their 28-21 victory in Norman in ’53 had been the only two losses suffered by Oklahoma in the last six seasons.

Since 1947, when Bud Wilkinson took over the head coaching position in Norman, the University of Oklahoma had won 101 football games, lost only eight, and tied another three. They had won 60 conference games and lost none, while being tied only twice. The Sooners had played in five bowl games, and emerged victorious in four of them. They were currently riding an NCAA-record 47-game winning streak, during which they had beaten nine ranked opponents, had shut out an amazing 22 opponents, and were averaging 34.5 points per game during the streak while permitting their opponents an average of 5.9. They had also scored in 123 consecutive games, another national record. Along the way, the Sooners had won three national championships, the first coming in 1950, and were currently two-time defending champs after winning in ’55 and ’56.

Despite all of this, including being the owners of a perfect 7-0 record, Oklahoma had lost the top ranking in the AP poll twice during the ’57 season. In the October 14th poll, Michigan State had jumped over the Sooners, only to immediately lose, and Oklahoma reclaimed the top spot. Then two weeks later, Bear Bryant’s Texas A&M team also jumped over the Sooners, and had held the spot the last three weeks.

Wilkinson was known for his refinement of the Split-T offensive formation, but he was also creative. He had invented the no-huddle offense, known as “Go-Go”, a scheme that often confounded opponents. And he also helped break the color barrier on the field when in ’57, Prentice Gautt became the first African-American player at Oklahoma as a sophomore fullback. But Wilkinson had also built the Sooners into a college football dynasty, and they were a team that was so big, so strong, so disciplined, and just so good, that many opponents often entered games with a goal of merely staying competitive all day.

Leading the team offensively was senior halfback Clendon Thomas, who had scored 18 touchdowns in ’56, the most in the nation, and rushed for 817 yards. The offense also featured senior guard Bill Krisher, junior center Bob Harrison, and junior end Ross Coyle, and at the helm was quarterback Brewster Hobby. Wilkinson and his #2 Sooners were averaging 300 yards a game rushing, and entered their next game against Notre Dame game as 19-point favorites opposite one of college football’s storied teams.

The Irish had won more national championships than any team in the country, with three coming in seven seasons under Knute Rockne (’24, ’29 and ’30) before his untimely death, and then returning to glory with four more in the 40’s under Frank Leahy (’43, ’46, ’47 and ’49). It would be the fourth meeting between the two schools, with all three previous games coming in the 50’s, and Notre Dame winning two of them. In fact, the Irish’s 27-21 win over the Sooners at South Bend in ’52 and their 28-21 victory in Norman in ’53 had been the only two losses suffered by Oklahoma in the last six seasons.

Beleaguered fourth-year Irish coach Terry Brennan had been 9-1 and 8-2 with top-ten finishes in the polls in his first two seasons, but he was recently under fire after a dismal ’56 season when they went 2-8, including a 40-0 loss to Oklahoma at Notre Dame Stadium. Brennan he had bounced back and led the Irish to opening wins over Purdue, Indiana, tenth-ranked Army and Pittsburgh to begin the ’57 season 4-0 and climb to #5 in the AP poll. But then came consecutive blowout losses to two ranked opponents, #16 Navy (20-6) and #4 Michigan State (34-6), a former top-ranked team, dropping the Irish out of the poll.

Oklahoma had a lot of motivation to beat the Irish, coincidentally the last team to defeat them, coming back on September 26, 1953 by a 28-21 count. In addition to trying to win a third straight national title, the Sooners were still smarting over the Heisman Trophy selection for ’56, which went to Notre Dame’s Paul Hornung, who claimed the award as the only player to have won from a losing team. Oklahoma felt that the hardware should have gone to one of their stars, either halfback Tommy McDonald or linebacker Gerry Tubbs, who had received equal publicity from the school and finished third and fourth in the voting, but their combined total of 1,697 points easily surpassed Hornung’s 1,066 points.

Early in the nationally televised game and in front of a sellout crowd of 62,000, Notre Dame’s Pat Doyle fumbled and Oklahoma’s Dick Corbitt recovered at the Irish 34. But the Sooners lost five yards in three plays and had to punt. A few minutes later, a Sooners’ push to the Notre Dame 13 a few minutes later was stopped when Irish junior guard Allen Ecuyer broke up Carl Dodd’s fourth-down pass intended for Dennit Morris. On the first play of the second quarter, from the Irish 23, Dodd lost a fumble, and then midway through the same period, Notre Dame’s Nick Pietrosante recovered another Dodd fumble at the Oklahoma 49. The Sooners were self-destructing, as four potential scoring opportunities had vanished.

Until this point, the Notre Dame offense had been unable to move against the Sooners, but starting near midfield, Irish quarterback Bob Williams turned to the passing game and he found some weaknesses in the Oklahoma defense, and openings for some short passes. Williams completed three of five passes as Notre Dame drove to the Oklahoma one yard line, but the Sooners stiffened and stuffed runs by Pietrosante, Jim Just and Bob Reynolds were stopped short, and the Irish were forced to turn the ball over on downs.

Late in the half, Notre Dame reached the Oklahoma 16 and on fourth down, they faked a field goal as Williams tossed a ten-yard pass to Just for a first down. But again, Oklahoma turned the Irish away as David Baker intercepted a Reynolds pass intended for junior end Monte Stickles in the end zone. It sent the two teams into the locker rooms with a scoreless tie, and the closest Oklahoma had been to the goal line was 13 yards.

In the third quarter, neither team could move on offense, and as the game entered the fourth quarter, an impending draw seemed likely as the Irish took possession at their own 20 with just under 13 minutes to go in the game.
Williams had a great day, calling every play except for the second quarter fake field goal, and he directed the Irish down the field. Pietrosante, a big 210-pound fullback, gained 35 yards in seven carries during the drive, three times carrying for a first down, and back Dick Lynch also ran for a pair of crucial first downs, as Notre Dame moved down the field.

Williams threw a jump pass to Dick Royer for a first down at the Oklahoma 17, and ultimately, the Irish closed to a first down-and-goal at the Oklahoma eight. Pietrosante followed his guard up the middle for a gain of four, Lynch was stopped for no gain, and then Williams picked up just one on a keeper up the middle. This brought up a fourth down and three, and Brennan decided against kicking a field goal because from so close, the angle was too steep.

The Oklahoma defense was bunched in the middle, covering every one of the gaps in the line, perhaps expecting that Pietrosante would bang inside. On the 20th play of the march, Williams faked an inside handoff to Pietrosante, and the Sooners attacked the fullback, but Lynch took a pitch from Williams, ran around the right end, and went in untouched for the touchdown. Stickles kicked the extra point, and Notre Dame led 7-0, with 3:50 remaining on the stadium’s clock.

Oklahoma punted on its ensuing possession, but they got the ball back when Williams threw incomplete on a fourth-and-14 play. Wilkinson sent in his third-string quarterback, Bennett Watts, and several other reserves, as they were in dire need of quickness at the end of the game. The Irish defense had been stingy all game, and now they needed to step it up even more.

It looked as if Wilkinson had penned a stroke of genius when Watts threw a pass in the direction of Joe Rector that was deflected and then caught by John Pellow, who then rambled 40 yards down to the Irish 36, awakening the stunned crowd. The Sooners were proving that they were not finished, and they were driving for a potential game-tying touchdown. But with less than a minute to play, and with the ball on the Notre Dame 24, Oklahoma’s Dale Sherrod tried to pass to Gautt in the end zone, but Williams, who doubled as a safety on defense, picked off the pass, sealing the victory.

When the dust cleared on this defensive battle, Notre Dame had the 7-0 upset win, ending the longest winning streak in NCAA history. They had been spearheaded by a tenacious defense, which held the Sooners to under 100 yards rushing and less than 50 yards passing, and most importantly, had kept them out of the end zone, suffering their first shutout in 123 games.

As the teams mingled on the field afterward, the sellout crowd gave the Irish a sportsmanlike round of applause for their efforts. Then, as they filed silently out of the stadium, they heard this pronouncement from the public address announcer, “Come back next Saturday folks. That’s when a new winning streak starts.”Afterwards, Wilkinson offered, “I guess we never really had a chance to score during the whole game. They covered our receivers well. We had time to pass, but we couldn’t get anyone open.

We played a fine game, but they played a better one. They were just better than we were today. They deserved to win.”“Oklahoma was a fine team and Bud Wilkinson was a fine coach,” Brennan said, who had spotted something in the Sooners’ game films, “but he was predictable. We prepared for them in detail. We didn’t have a whole lot of speed, we tried to be as basic as possible, and we felt if we could stop their four or five basic plays, we had a chance to win. We knew that Oklahoma might use an unbalanced line and flankers and even some single wing, but we knew, too, that whenever they had to move the ball they went back to their regular split-T, balanced-line offense. So we didn’t do anything too different on defense. We took our basic defense and adjusted it to fit. We played the gaps in their line to close up splits between their linemen and we sent the linebackers in to put pressure on the quarterback. We gave them the flat zone for passes that way, if they could take advantage of it, but we figured we could put enough pressure so that they couldn’t. They didn’t use anything we weren’t expecting.”

Back in South Bend, about 3,000 people greeted the team plane upon its arrival hours after the game, cheering so feverishly that the players were unable to deplane for 20 minutes. When the Irish players got back to campus, another 4,000 fans were waiting to bestow praise on their conquering heroes as the school band repeatedly played the Notre Dame Victory March. And for Monday, classes were cancelled at the university. School president Father Theodore Hesburgh had made the unprecedented decision in the aftermath of the wild celebration that had taken place, reasoning that the students would probably skip classes anyway.