Some New Look at 2017

There is almost nothing to complain about in the Eagles Post Season last year.  So I will try to offer something to think about.

Most fans wanted the NFC Title Game over quickly after the two minute warning. Coach Doug Pederson  put Nate Sudfelt in at Quarterback who knelt after getting the snaps from center to end the game.  I will say again that the Eagles missed a chance to give young Sudfelt some needed experience .  No one can accuse the Eagles of running up the score as long as our guys do it using the second or third string.

A few years ago a reporter used the term Pete’s Parody.  This referred to the late Commissioner Pete Rozelle’s efforts to keep the overall talent in teams closer though certainly not equal.  The games would be closer with fans less likely to turn the game off.   There will be more pacing the floors and yelling at the television.  I prefer to win by a big margin.

There are ways to minimize the differences in teams and to make it more difficult for the same teams to get to the Super Bowl and  Conference Title games every year.  This has been in practice for many years.  Nevertheless it has not hampered teams like the New England Patriots and in past years with the Dallas Cowboys, the Denver Broncos, and the San Francisco 49ers

1} The draft from college players has the worst team picking first and Super Bowl winner last.

2} Teams from one division in one conference play the same team from one division the other conference.  I think you will find an example shows this better than an explanation.  e.g. Last year everyone in the NFC East played one game against teams from the AFC West. Each team has 4 games here.  This does not favor a mediocre team over a good or great team.

3} Each team has two games against teams within their division.  Each team has 6 games here. This does not favor a mediocre team over a good or great team.

4} This is the clincher and is difficult to calculate.  The worst teams play each other and the best teams play each other.  Each team has 6 games.   This favors a mediocre team over a good or great team.

Here is the issue.  With parity there is almost no chance to play the reserves in any consistent way.   We all remember the Miracle of the Meadowlands in 2010.  With seven minutes remaining Philadelphia was behind New York Giants 31 to 10.  Fans were looking for the Giants to pull the first string but the Eagles scored four touchdowns to win 38 to 31.  Coaches will remember this game just like the Herman Edwards fumble return

Coaches should pull the first string when it is almost impossible to lose; and let the second team try to move the ball and score.  Make the most of any opportunity that will pay off in the future.




All Body Parts Are Connected

Injuries to one part of the body generally cause weakness to another.  This can be either in a specific organ or to the body as a whole.  The human body has all parts interconnected.   As an impressionable 13 year old,  I realized this in the 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates.   This involved a great pitcher and a third string catcher who was in only 22 games. This catcher was great on defense but an automatic out when he came to the plate.

In 1960 Vernon Law had a 20-9 record; received the Cy Young award; started the 1960 All Star Game;  pitched three perfect innings; and was the winning pitcher.  His year in 1960, together with an 18-9 mark in 1959, firmly established Law as one of the greatest pitchers in baseball.  Pittsburgh had  two four game losing streaks in 1960.  On both occasions,  it was Law who snapped them.  He made sure that losing did not mean a collapse.

The catcher, Bob Oldis, had a value that went beyond measurement.  He was the court jester who kept the team loose.  A prankster with a purpose, Oldis wanted the team to win as much as any other player.  At same time,  he knew that  players  seldom perform well tightly tying themselves in knots.  Some tension is desirable as teams compete to win games.  The Pittsburgh Pirates in 1960 won the World Series 4 games to 3.  That year Bob Oldis, through the strength of his personality, help loosen tension whenever it was required.


However, at year end Bob Oldis let his antics get out of hand.  On the next to last weekend of the season, the Pirates lost to the Milwaukee Braves.  This was on a Sunday,  the last game of a three game set.  On the same day, the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field defeated the St. Louis Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Pirates clinched first place in the National League.

There was a wild and raucous time on the airplane from Milwaukee to Pittsburgh.  The the team really cut loose. Vernon was an ordained minister of the Mormon Church.  While  never pompous or self righteous, Law was not given to any wild celebrations.  Nevertheless, Bob Oldis did not let Law alone.  He foolishly grabbed Law’s foot and twisted his legs, back, and arms. Law started three games in the World Series, winning two and going six innings in the final game.  Law favored his left leg while pitching.  This put undo pressure on his right arm.  Vernon  tore and pulled his muscles.  The right arm though was the key.

Vernon was in and out of the pitching rotation over the next four years.  He was a courageous and determined athlete.   Late in 1964, Law began showing flashes of brilliance that reminded older fans of his Cy Young year in 1960.  Everything finally paid off in the streaky season of 1965.   He won the Comeback of the Year Award despite some early problems.  Lost the first five decisions 0-5; won eight in a row 8-5;  lost four in a row 8-9; won nine in a row 17-9.

That was a up and down but still great season.  It reminded me of an electrocardiogram.   His season showed his efforts over the years over really paid off.  Nevertheless,  that airplane injury may have cost him a place the The Baseball Hall of Fame.




Need Steelers Game at New York Giants in 1964

A while back I was looking for two victories in 1964 that were big in the history of Pittsburgh Steelers. Both games were on the road.  I have the first one.

Game 5  With the Cleveland Browns that the Steelers  won 23 to 7.  John Henry Johnson carried 30 times for 200 yards and scored three touchdowns on runs of 33, 45, and 4 yards.   This was the biggest games in this HOF player’s careers; it was a then Steeler record; and the season’s best performance.  Clarence Peaks also carried 21 times for 97 yards.  Quarterback Ed Brown completed 9 of 11 passes for 126 yards, without a touchdown or interception.

Game 11 With the New York Giants that the Steelers won 44 to 17.  Once again the big three rose up with help from receiver Gary Ballman.  This was Buddy Parker’s highest point total in his eight years as the Steelers’ coach.  At that time, it was the third highest score in team history.  John Henry Johnson gained 106 yards in 25 carries and scored touchdowns on runs of ten and two yards.  Charence Peaks carried 15 times for 97 yards and caught  41 yard pass.

Ed Brown, playing only three quarters, went 10 for 13 for 184 yards and two touchdowns. When he left the score was 37 to 3. Gary Ballman caught five passes for 117 yards and two touchdowns.  Reserve Quarterback Tommy Wade fired a 78 yard touchdown pass to Dick Hoak.  However, the Steelers went in motion negating the play.  The Steeler had to punt.  A bad snap to punter Ed Holler flew into the End Zone.  Erich Barnes, a great special teams player, recovered it for a touchdown.


Late Game Substitution, Special Teams Play, and a Big Victory

At the end of the half and the game, the quarterback often kneels after getting the snap from center.  This of course is to run out the clock without losing a fumble.   We all remember the Miracle at the Meadow Lands in 1978 between the Eagles and the New York Giants.   With 30 seconds left in the game, there was the muffed hand off between Joe Pisarcik  and Larry Csonka.  Herman Edwards picked up the loose football and returned it for a touchdown.  A 17 to 12 loss turned into a 19 to 17 victory.

From this play, running backs and wide receivers now circle around the quarterback in the event of a fumble.  Teams  will not take chances.  Now let’s go further and review a game back in 2010 at the Meadow Lands.  Eli Manning just threw a touchdown pass to Kevin Boss.  There were seven minutes left in the game with the Giants leading the Philadelphia Eagles  31 to 10.  New York fans were confident of a victory.  The second string was about to play avoiding injury to the starters and giving these reserves some much needed experience.

Merrill Reese was always optimistic except when the Eagles needed a miracle or at least a near miracle.  He was going into the messy business of what had to happen and who had to win or lose  for the Eagles to get into the playoffs .  Reese said there was almost no chance for the Eagles to win this game.  Of course getting into the playoffs was not enough.  We had to consider getting the BYE Week and the Home Field Advantage.  These possibilities made the whole business of coaching much more difficult.

We all know what happened.  With great offensive play, one critical sack on Eli Manning,  a fumble recovery by Reilly Cooper of an onside kick off, and a 65 yard punt return for a touchdown by Eli Manning the Eagles won 38 to 31.  Philadelphia scored four touchdowns in a seven minute span.








Duquesne Brewing Company-Have A Duke

Crossing  the Smithfield  Street Bridge in Pittsburgh to the South Side, we see a tremendous complex of dining, shopping, live entertainment, and education.  Known as Station Square,  it was the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Passenger Railroad  Station.   The station itself has the restaurant at two levels.  The old train sheds are specialty shops.  There is an exhibit of Pittsburgh’s Industrial Age.  At my last visit, there was a Sheraton Hotel.  Someday I hope we will see commuter trains in Pittsburgh to the Great Lakes.  They should never have stopped.


At one time in the South Side stood the  Duquesne Brewing Company.  The building itself is a rich collection of

Romanesque Revival and assorted designs from the late 19th to the Mid-20th Century.  The trademark for the Beer was a picture of a Duke holding up a Pilsner Glass of Beer.  On the top of the building was a clock with the words “HAVE A DUKE” around it.  Millions of people checked their watches every day with this clock.  It could be seen for miles.

Duquesne had a theme which provided music for a song or march.   Until 1962, Duquesne Beer sponsored the Pittsburgh Steelers on WWSW Radio and away games for CBS Channel 2.  As might be expected,  the march style began and  ended the broadcast.  Lyrics were the background for commercials during the game.

As written

Have a Duke, Have a Duke, Have a Duuuke.  Duquesne’s the Magic Million Beer,  a Million Barrels every year,  the certified proof of quality from the U.S Testing company,  have a Duke,  have a Duke,  have a Duke.  Have a Duke, have a Duke and you will see the reason for its pedigree,  bright and sparkling Duquesne’s first, preferred in every favored test, have a Duke,  have a Duke,  have a Duke.

I cannot remember the exact words from another lyric.  Brand B says ???????, Brand C says??????, that’s all you hear from year to year, confusing claims about their beer,  How do you know it’s the truth?,  Believe your taste, When choosing beer, Don’t be mislead by those confusing claims you hear,  Just taste Duquesne and you will see,  How great good tasting beer can be, Believe your taste and Have a Duke, have a Duke, have a Duke, have a Duke.

At intervals during a game,  the announcers just while  broadcasting Have a Duke the finest beer in town

In addition to Duquesne Beer, the Pilsner, the Duquesne Brewing Company had Silver Top its Lager Beer.  As might be expected Silver Top was to provide variety and never matched Duquesne in sales.  It did provide a balance to its major competitor  in Western Pennsylvania, the Pittsburgh Brewing Company.   This brewery did things in reverse.  Let me spell this out to avoid confusion.

Duquesne Brewing Company-Primary Brew was Duquesne Pilsner and the Secondary was Silver Top Lager.  Pittsburgh Brewing Company-Primary Brew was Iron City Lager and the Secondary was Tech Premium Pilsner.

After Carling became Steelers’ beer in 1962, the Duquesne Company changed their marketing techniques.  The title was simply DUKE beer.  I cannot remember the exact words.  They said you will like the bold flavor of DUKE beer. Where tastes run strong, make it DUKE.   The company abandon its royalty image for something more blue collar.  The pictures were different showing rodeo cowboys, miners, steel workers, or truck drivers.

When the Duquesne Brewing Company folded in 1972,  C. Schmidt’s and Sons bought and packaged DUKE beer at its Cleveland Branch not its headquarters in Philadelphia.  The Duquesne plant on the South Side became a meeting for artists and writers.




Mimi Ben Zell

Pictured is Mimi Benzell an American opera singer who later sang the Blues and new songs as they hit record sales. Extremely versatile, she appeared with the Paul Whiteman Orchestra, Ed Sullivan’s Toast of the Town, two Broadway hits and on the Mike Douglas Show. A frequent panelist on To Tell the Truth, Ben Zell showed great analytical skills in her choices over the who was telling the the truth and who were the imposters. She maintained an amazing schedule her entire life. She died of throat cancer on December 23, 1970 only 47 years old.

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Democratic Convention 1920 San Francisco

Democratic Convention 1920 in San Francisco.

Delegates were divided among William McAdoo, Secretary of the Treasury under Woodrow Wilson, and Al Smith, Governor of New York.

Three other candidates were in the balloting but the Democrats wisely defeated them. Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer was a Right Wing tyrant trashing civil liberties across the country. He made Ed Meese in the Reagan Administration look like a Statesman. Williams Jennings Bryan also was in the balloting but the country was tired of this eloquent bird brain. President Wilson wanted the nomination for a third term but was too sick to continue. He had no business in the White House even during the last two years of his Administration.

Dark Candidate James A Cox, the Governor of Ohio, won the nomination after 8 days days of balloting, threatening, and promising. His running mate was Franklin Roosevelt, the Secretary of the Navy. More on the 1920 election later.