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The World Cup is Down to Four
Add-on posted early Wed. a.m.
Alex Ovechkin Hits 800!
Ovechkin had a hat trick last night in Washington’s 7-3 win over the Blackhawks, hitting the 800-mark with his third and thus moving within one goal of Gordie Howe for second all-time. Wayne Gretzky holds the record with 894 goals.
In Tuesday’s semifinal, it was Argentina vs. Croatia.
Croatia came in a perfect 4-0 in shootouts over the last two World Cups. But we didn’t come close to one today, as Argentina had zero problem in beating Croatia, 3-0, moving to within one win of its first world championship since 1986.
Lionel Messi was literally masterful, starting with a magnificent penalty kick to open the scoring in the first half, and then a phenomenal assist on the third goal, Julian Alvarez, the 22-year-old striker with his second of the day.
Alvarez’ first tally was after Messi headed it barely into Croatian territory and Alvarez basically bulled and “slalomed” (as the BBC put it) his way all the way to the goal.
Later today, Morocco vs. France.
Regardless of who wins this one, we will have a final for the ages as the great Messi seeks the capstone to his brilliant, legendary career. [And most likely a meeting with Pope Francis, mused the editor.]
--We learned the past few days why the USNMT didn’t play 20-year-old budding star Gio Reyna much. It’s because the guy was an immature jerk who didn’t train hard enough and had a lousy attitude, per U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter in comments Sunday.
Reyna then acknowledged Monday that he “let (his) emotions get the best of (him),” after he was told before the World Cup that he would be playing a limited role in Qatar.
But Reyna then said in an Instagram post he is “extremely surprised that anyone on the U.S. men’s team staff would contribute” to coverage of the matter and that Berhalter “has always said that issues that arise with the team will stay ‘in house.’”
Well, it was rather difficult not to respond to reporters questions on the elephant in the room, that Reyna saw very little time on the pitch in the United States’ four matches, and Berhalter responded.
--Congratulations to Syracuse for winning its first NCAA men’s national soccer championship in program history on Monday evening, 7-6 in a penalty-kick shootout following 110 minutes and a 2-2 draw, the No. 3 seed Orange outlasting No. 13 Indiana.
Syracuse (19-2-4), was unbeaten in its last 14 matches.
--What a last few days for college football as we first learned Mississippi State coach Mike Leach had suffered a massive heart attack on Sunday while at home, having attended practice with the team on Saturday as they prepared for the bowl game.
Unfortunately, through no fault of their own, EMTs reportedly didn’t arrive and deliver shocks to his heart with a defibrillator to restore normal heart rhythm for about 10 to 15 minutes, and that resulted in seizures and probable brain damage. Late Monday morning, we were told Leach was in “critical condition.”
He died Monday night. His family said, in a statement released by the school Tuesday, that Leach participated in organ donation at the University of Mississippi Medical Center as “a final act of charity.”
“Coach Mike Leach cast a tremendous shadow not just over Mississippi State University, but over the entire college football landscape,” university president Mark E. Keenum said in a statement. “His innovative ‘Air Raid’ offense changed the game. Mike’s keen intellect and unvarnished candor made him one of the nation’s true coaching legends. His passing brings sadness to our university, to the Southeastern Conference, and to all who loved college football. I will miss Mike’s profound curiosity, his honesty, and his wide-open approach to pursuing excellence in all things.
“Mike’s death also underscores the fragility and uncertainty of our lives. Three weeks ago, Mike and I were together in the locker room celebrating a hard-fought victory in Oxford. Mike Leach truly embraced life and lived in such a manner as to leave no regrets. That’s a worthy legacy. May God bless the Leach family during these days and hours. The prayers of the Bulldog family go with them.”
Leach was in his third coaching stint, 19-17 at MSU, 8-4 this season. He coached at Texas Tech from 2000 to 2009 and Washington State from 2012 to 2019.
Known for his prolific Air Raid offenses, Leach was 158-107 in his 21 seasons as head coach. He was also known for his quirky personality, dry wit, and penchant for talking about history, business and politics (and really, just about anything else).
Arizona Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury, who played three seasons under Leach at Texas Tech and was the Red Raiders’ head coach from 2013 to 2018, said Tuesday that the sport of football “was better because of Mike Leach and is far less interesting without him.”
That’s the truth.
Alabama coach Nick Saban said in a statement that he is “deeply saddened” by Leach’s “unexpected passing.”
“I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Mike over the last several years,” Saban said. “I never knew quite where our conversations were going, but they always made me smile. He was an offensive innovator who always did things his way and was admired for it. His teams were well-coached and extremely challenging to defend. They played with poise and toughness, which is a credit to his leadership.”
Leach would talk about anything and once quipped, “I miss streakers,” after a fan ran onto the field and dropped his pants following a touchdown in Washington State’s 24-21 win over Stanford in 2017. After Donald Trump won the presidential election in 2016, Leach congratulated Trump via text and offered to be Trump’s “Secretary of Offense.”
Leach had a law degree from Pepperdine University and co-authored a book on Geronimo and the Apache leader’s approach to leadership. After growing up mostly in Cody, Wyoming, Leach earned his undergraduate degree from BYU, where he played rugby. He didn’t play football in college but closely studied Hall of Fame BYU coach LaVell Edwards and his offense.
Leach started his football coaching career at Cal Poly and then Iowa Wesleyan in 1989, where the head coach, Hal Mumme, created the Air Raid offense (Leach supplying the name).
Leach then followed Mumme to Valdosta State and Kentucky, where quarterback Tim Couch blossomed and became the No. 1 pick in the 1999 NFL draft. Leach went to Oklahoma as offensive coordinator under coach Bob Stoops, before landing his first head-coaching job at Texas Tech in 200.
At Texas Tech, Leach developed a record-setting offense with quarterbacks such as Kingsbury and Graham Harrell.
Leach left Texas Tech under a cloud, a former player accusing Leach of mistreating him after he suffered a concussion. Leach was suspended and then fired, he sued the university, lost the case but was hired by Washington State in 2012. The Cougars had suffered through eight straight non-winning seasons when he arrived and he led them to a bowl game in his second season, and from 2015 to 2018, won at least eight games every season, including 11 in 2018.
And think of this…his prolific coaching tree of coaches he mentored when they were players or assistant coaches includes USC’s Lincoln Riley, TCU’s Sonny Dykes, Houston’s Dana Holgorsen and Kingsbury.
He also said last year when asked to rate Halloween candy, “I mean, I completely hate candy corn.”
Mike Leach was a character, and an innovator. RIP.
--The only All-America team that matters, the AP’s All-America edition, was released Monday.
QB – Caleb Williams (USC)
RBs – Bijan Robinson (Texas); Blake Corum (Michigan)
Tackles – Peter Skoronski (Northwestern); Joe Alt (Notre Dame)
Guards – O’Cyrus Torrence (Florida); Andrew Vorhees (USC)
Center – John Michael Schmitz (Minnesota)
Tight end – Michael Mayer (Notre Dame)
WRs – Marvin Harrison Jr. (Ohio State); Jalin Hyatt (Tennessee); Xavier Hutchinson (Iowa State)
All-purpose player – Deuce Vaughn (Kansas State)
Kicker – Christopher Dunn (North Carolina State)
Edge rushers – Will Anderson Jr. (Alabama); Tuli Tuipulotu (USC)
Tackles – Jalen Carter (Georgia); Calijah Kancey (Pitt)
Linebackers – Ivan Pace Jr. (Cincinnati); Jack Campbell (Iowa); Drew Sanders (Arkansas)
Cornerbacks – Clark Phillips III (Utah); Devon Witherspoon (Illinois)
Safeties – Kamren Kinchen (Miami); Christopher Smith (Georgia)
Defensive back – Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson (TCU)
Punter – Bryce Baringer (Michigan State)
Think about how hard it is to be named First Team…pretty special achievement.
QB – Max Duggan (TCU)
RBs – Chase Brown (Illinois); Mohamed Ibrahim (Minnesota)
WRs – Charlie Jones (Purdue); Rashee Rice (SMU); Josh Downs (North Carolina)
Kicker – Jake Moody (Michigan)
QB – Hendon Hooker (Tennessee)
RBs – DeWayne McBride (UAB); Israel Abanikanda (Pitt)
WRs – Nathaniel Dell (Houston); Rome Odunze (Washington); Zay Flowers (Boston College)
--Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo will not be back next season after 15 years with the Midshipmen, Athletic Director Chet Gladchuk announced Sunday.
The move came less than 24 hours after Navy ended their season with an agonizing 20-17 loss to Army in double overtime.
Niumatalolo has the most wins of any football coach in school history and owns a career record of 109-83, including 10 victories over Army which are the most of any coach in the 123-game history of the series.
Navy had 11-win seasons in 2015 and 2019, and also went 10-4 in his second full season in 2009 after he took over for Paul Johnson, who departed for Georgia Tech.
But over the past three years, Navy has gone 11-23 and went a combined 4-10 against Army and Air Force over the past seven seasons. They have lost five of their past seven against Army.
According to John Feinstein of the Washington Post, however, Navy, with 18 of 22 starters in line to return next year, and with Cincinnati, Central Florida and Houston all leaving the American Athletic Conference, to be replaced by lesser teams, next season looks much better.
“Niumatalolo, at the least, should have gotten a chance to coach that team. In fact he said he told Gladchuk: ‘Calm down. If we don’t have a winning season next year, you won’t have to fire me. I’ll resign.”
This is a quality guy and what Gladchuk did is just not fair. Earlier in the season I wrote of the ups and downs of Syracuse head coach Dino Babers and addressed the question, ‘Would you really be better off with someone different in there? It’s Syracuse. It’s not the easiest place to recruit these days.’
The same can be said of Navy.
--A lot of the quarterbacks who have announced for the transfer portal aren’t difference makers for the Power Five teams, and maybe Coastal Carolina’s Grayson McCall, who announced Monday but said he will play in the Chanticleers’ Birmingham Bowl appearance vs. East Carolina, isn’t either. It’s said he may follow former Chanticleers coach Jamey Chadwell to Liberty.
But McCall is solid, winning the Sun Belt Conference’s Player of the Year award in each of the past three seasons, with a 28-4 won-loss record.
I do know one thing. Chants fan Johnny Mac is rather depressed (though cheered up by our Uncle Stevie’s spending on the Mets). Since Chadwell announced he was leaving the program, it seems everyone and their mother is bolting CC.
--Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray suffered a torn ACL in Monday night’s game against the Patriots. Murray was carted off the field with a noncontact knee injury less than 90 seconds into the contest.
Backup Colt McCoy entered the game and threw for 246 yards with an interception but was sacked six times as New England (7-6) came away with a big 27-13 win that propelled them into the seventh, and final, playoff spot, ahead of the 7-6 Jets on a tiebreaker.
For the Cardinals, it’s another lost season at 4-9, with Murray’s big contract hanging over them like an albatross. I imagine you’ll be able to get a season ticket in Glendale, AZ, next season for about $49.95, plus coupons for six hot dogs and six beers.
For the Pats, with 328 yards of total offense they were hardly an offensive juggernaut, but the defense is tough and of the six sacks, three were by Josh Uche, giving him 10 on the season.
--In the Eagles’ 48-22 win over the Giants Sunday, running back Miles Sanders passed the 1,000-yard mark for the season, his 144 yards against the Giants bringing his season total to 1,068, 5.2 avg. in 13 games.
And receiver A.J. Brown had 70 yards receiving, which brought him over 1,000 for the season, 65-1,020, 15.7 avg.
It’s the first time the team had both a running back and wide receiver reach that milestone since 2014. And they were?
LeSean McCoy…1,319 yards rushing; Jeremy Maclin…85-1,318 receiving.
As for the Giants, there is a lot of growing discontent. The team started off a stunning 6-1, though the schedule wasn’t that tough, the loss against Dallas. Most importantly, the defense didn’t give up more than 23 points in any of the seven games (the 23 in the loss to the Cowboys).
On offense, Daniel Jones wasn’t coughing the ball up and Saquon Barkley was effective, and the Giants scored enough to win, 27 points the high.
Since then, however, the team has gone 1-4-1, with the defense giving up 27 or more in the four losses, and in the six games the offense hasn’t scored more than 22, and that in Sunday’s blowout.
It’s a tale of two seasons and it falls on the coach, Brian Daboll, who has been far from inspirational.
As opposed to the inspired play of the Jets, even in defeat, under quarterback Mike White and a terrific defense, the Giants are in deep trouble. Next up, a rematch with the Commanders in Washington, the teams playing to a 20-20 tie two weeks ago.
--Russell Wilson has had a godawful season, 11 TD passes, 6 interceptions, an 85.0 PR, worst of his career, the Broncos 3-10.
But Sunday, after falling behind 27-0, Wilson arguably had the finest moments of his year, guiding Denver to three straight TDs, 23/36, 247, 3-1, 100.1 overall, 4 carries for 57 yards, before his head was driven into the ground after a 14-yard run got Denver to the two-yard line. Concussion.
--The 49ers received good news on Monday. Receiver Deebo Samuel should be back, possibly in the final week of the regular season after suffering a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee and a sprained left ankle. Sunday, the injury appeared to be far worse.
Quarterback Brock Purdy, living the dream, is expected to play Thursday night against the Seahawks after suffering a rib and oblique injury in leading San Francisco to a shockingly easy 35-7 win over the Bucs and Tom Brady.
The Niners’ did lose defensive back Dontae Johnson to a torn ACL.
AP Top 25 Poll (records thru Sunday)
1. Purdue (27) 10-0
2. Virginia (19) 8-0
3. UConn (15) 11-0
4. Alabama 8-1
5. Houston 9-1
6. Tennessee (1) 9-1
7. Texas 7-1
8. Kansas 9-1
9. Arizona 8-1
10. Arkansas 9-1
11. Baylor 7-2
12. Duke 10-1
13. Kentucky 7-2
14. Indiana 8-2
15. Gonzaga 7-3
16. UCLA 8-2
17. Mississippi State 9-0
18. Illinois 7-3
19. Auburn 8-1
20. Maryland 8-2
21. TCU 8-1
22. Wisconsin 8-2
23. Ohio State 7-2
24. Virginia Tech 10-1
25. Miami 10-1
Can’t believe LSU doesn’t even receive a single vote. This is a travesty, I tell ya! Time to riot.
Actually, I’ll let 6’10”, 250 lb. KJ Williams do that for me.
As for Purdue, last year they were ranked No. 1 for the first time in school history in Week 4 and then lost to Rutgers.
Tuesday, 4 Alabama held off Memphis (8-3) 91-88.
--Texas coach Chris Beard was arrested Monday morning on a felony domestic violence charge.
Beard was arrested by police in Austin, Texas, and booked at 4:18 a.m. on a third-degree charge of “assault of a family/household member, impeded breath circulation,” or strangulation.
Beard’s attorney, Perry Minton, told the Austin American-Statesman that Beard “is 100% innocent of these charges.”
“He should never have been arrested,” Minton told the paper. “The complainant wants him released immediately and all charges dismissed. It is truly inconceivable.”
Beard wasn’t on the bench Monday night as 7 Texas held off Rice (6-3) in overtime, 77-71.
After being released on a $10,000 bond, Beard was suspended by Texas without pay “until further notice,” according to a statement. Associate head coach Rodney Terry then led the team in the Rice game.
According to an affidavit, after an officer responded to a 911 call after midnight Sunday, a woman identifying herself as Beard’s finance said they had been arguing for several days over relationship issues and asked by the officer if the argument turned physical the woman, according to police, said yes.
"He just snapped on me and became super violent,” she said.
At one point, she claims, Beard “choked me, threw me off the bed, bit me, bruises all over my leg, throwing me around, and going nuts,” according to the affidavit. He also choked her for five seconds.
Beard, while police were on scene, said he had audio recordings of the incident that show he was not the primary aggressor, though he wasn’t willing to share the recordings.
There were numerous visible injuries on the woman.
Beard and the woman have been together for six years and engaged for three.
Beard, 49, is in his second year at Texas, after replacing Shaka Smart in 2021. Prior to this, he spent five seasons at Texas Tech, leading the Red Raiders to the 2019 NCAA championship game.
--Huh, the situation in New York has gotten better, with the Knicks winning four-in-a-row to improve to 14-13, while the Nets have taken 8-of-9 to move to 17-12.
--Lat night the Celtics (22-7) won a thriller in L.A. over the Lakers (11-16), 122-118 in overtime. Boston had blown a 20-point lead only to see the Lakers cough up a 13-point advantage in the fourth quarter after L.A. had gone on a furious 18-0 run in the second half.
Jayson Tatum had 44 for Boston, Anthony Davis (37) and LeBron (33) combined for 70 in defeat.
--We note the passing of longtime NBA player and coach, Paul Silas, who won two championships with the Celtics and one with the Supersonics in the 1970s. He was 79.
The pride of Creighton University, Silas was selected in the 1965 draft by the St. Louis Hawks and went on to play from 1965-80 with St. Louis / Atlanta, Phoenix, Boston and Seattle.
As a power forward he became a double-double machine, doing so eight seasons. He was a two-time All-Star and five-time All-Defensive team selection over his 16 years
Following his retirement, Silas was named head coach of the Clippers, and then later with Charlotte and New Orleans. He had a 387-488 lifetime record.
Silas was named to the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2017.
--Boy, the NL East is going to be intense, though this coming season we have the introduction of the “balanced” schedule, where every team will play every other team at some point.
And instead of 76 games against division opponents (19 each), you will only have 52 games (13 each) in the division across four total series, as opposed to six.
A lot of us do not like this at all, though if the Mets, Braves and Phillies are that good, they should roll over most of the other opponents.
Also, glancing at the Mets’ schedule, seven of their last 10 are against the Phillies in September.
--Anyway, the Braves acquired catcher Sean Murphy, in a three-way trade with the A’s and Brewers that saw nine players swap teams.
Murphy, 28, is a former Gold Glover who last season played in 148 games, 18 home runs, 64 RBIs, .250 batting average, .759 OPS, and was highly sought on the trade market. So Atlanta dealt young catcher William Contreras to Milwaukee while retaining veteran Travis d’Arnaud.
The rest of the deal is mostly minor leaguers.
Contreras made the NL All-Star team as a DH last year and hit .278 with 20 home runs, and thus the Brewers are seen as major winners in the deal as well.
--Toronto signed former Mets starter Chris Bassitt to a three-year, $63 million contract, pending a physical. Bassitt, who turns 34 in February, had a solid season for the Mets, 15-9, 3.42, 30 starts, but the Mets in essence exchanged Bassitt, Jacob deGrom and Taijaun Walker for Justin Verlander, Jose Quintana and Kodai Senga…and in all three cases, the Mets signed their three to much better contracts, from a team standpoint, than the three departees received from their new clubs.
I am a very happy Mets fan. Now stay healthy, boys!
--The Twins signed veteran free agent catcher Christian Vazquez to a three-year, $30 million deal.
Vazquez, 32, split his time last season between the Red Sox and Astros and is a solid bat with a good glove, and a two-time World Series champion, including last season with Houston.
Twins catchers batted just .197 as a group in 2022, and Gary Sanchez, who played the bulk of the games, hit just .205. He’s a free agent.
--But then late last night the Twins lost free agent shortstop Carlos Correa to the Giants, Correa agreeing to a record-setting 13-year, $350 million contract that takes the 28-year-old out to age 41. There are reportedly no opt-outs and Correa has a full no-trade clause.
It’s the fourth-largest guaranteed deal in MLB history behind Mike Trout ($426.5M), Mookie Betts ($365M) and Aaron Judge ($360M).
The Twins were trying to keep Correa in the fold, offering $285 million over 10 years.
So among the big names remaining on the market are shortstop Dansby Swanson and pitcher Carlos Rodon.
--Tiger Woods said with this weekend’s father-son duo, Tiger playing with son Charlie, being a dad is what he’s setting out to be.
“I want him to learn from everything, but also I want to protect him from all of this,” he told Bridgestone Golf’s ‘Another Golf Podcast.’ “You know the environment. Especially in this day and age, when I grew up there were no camera phones, no videos and stuff. I try to shoo people away. Let him enjoy. Don’t put any pressure on him.”
Tiger is wary of the growing comparisons being made between him and Charlie.
“He’s in 8th grade, but still, he’s a kid. Let him go out there and be a kid, enjoy it. You don’t nitpick kids,” said Tiger.
“And don’t compare him to me, because he’s not me, he’s Charlie, OK?” Tiger continued. “He’s going to be his own person. Whatever road he goes down, he’s going to go down his own road and he’s going to create his own path. That to me is so important to me as a father, that I provide that environment and that support so that he can go down whatever path he wants to, I just want him to be the best at it.”
Next Bar Chat, Sunday p.m.
Brief Add-on up top by noon, Wed.
[Posted early Sunday p.m., prior to late NFL games.]
College Football / Heisman Quiz: With Caleb Williams winning the Heisman, he becomes the eighth USC Trojan to do so. Running backs Mike Garrett (1965), O.J. Simpson (1968), Charles White (1979) and Marcus Allen (1981) were four of them. Between O.J., 1968, and Allen, 1981, with White in there, name the eight other running backs to win the Heisman during that time. Answer below.
World Cup Magic…and Heartbreak…
We had a phenomenal string of games in the quarterfinals.
Friday, Croatia and Brazil went to extra time scoreless when Neymar scored in the 105th minute to give Brazil a 1-0 lead and the seeming victory, only to see Croatia’s Petkovic tie it up at 1-1 at the 117’ mark…sending it to penalty kicks where Croatia prevailed 4-2.
Brazil was the prohibitive favorite to win the whole thing.
And then it was Argentina taking a seemingly insurmountable 2-0 lead over the Netherlands, only to see the Dutch score two dramatics goals in the final ten minutes of regulation…2-2…and that’s how it ended after 30 minutes of extra time.
On to penalty kicks again, and Argentina and Lionel Messi (who scored the second goal of the game) prevailed 4-3.
Friday was the greatest day ever for World Cup quarterfinals so what would Saturday bring?
More of the same. Morocco became the first African country to reach the semifinals when it upset Portugal and Cristiano Ronaldo 1-0, Youssef En-Nesyri scoring the lone goal at the 42nd minute mark to continue his nation’s improbable run that has generated an outpouring of support across Africa and the Middle East.
[Cameroon (1990), Senegal (2002) and Ghana (2010) all reached the quarterfinals but got no further.]
Ronaldo for a second straight game didn’t start but came on as a substitute early in the second half. For the 37-year-old five-time world player of the year, he is set to finish his career without capturing the World Cup or ever getting to the final. [Messi is looking for his first as well.]
On to the last of the quarterfinals, England vs. France.
As Joshua Robinson of the Wall Street Journal wrote:
“For two countries that have spent entire centuries thinking about each other – including the time they fought for 116 years and rounded it down to the Hundred Years’ War – they are almost perfect strangers on the soccer field. They have never met in a win-or-go-home match at the World Cup, and the last time they met in any major tournament was in a 1-1 draw in the group stage of Euro 2012.”
What’s strange is the two countries poach each other’s talent when it comes to the club level, though far less so these days than say 20 years ago.
“England versus France in the World Cup quarterfinal, it doesn’t get bigger than that. The world will be watching,” England and West Ham [Premier League] midfielder Declan Rice said. “These are the games we want to play in, they only come around once.”
France won the 2018 World Cup.
And France has a shot at defending, advancing 2-1 in heartbreaking fashion for England as the great Harry Kane, who had nailed a penalty kick to tie things up at 1-1 at the 54’ mark, only to see France regain the lead on a header from Olivier Giroud, had a shot to tie it up again at 84 minutes and when his Tottenham teammate, and French goalkeeper, Hugo Lloris went for the spot in which Kane had deposited his first PK, Kane, adjusting at the last second and looking to drill it dead central, instead booted it over the top.
It's a miss that goes down in football / soccer history with all the other critical misses over the years and immediately back in the UK, Kane was excoriated on social media.
It just sucks, and I feel so sorry for the guy. You know this is my man…being a follower of Tottenham all these years and watching Kane rocket to stardom.
But he’s now 29 and he’ll forever wonder, along with his teammates, if this was their best shot, England not having won the Cup since 1966.
England’s manager Gareth Southgate said of his star striker: “That’s football. There is nobody I would rather have in that situation and if we had one tomorrow, I’d feel exactly the same way… He’s the best, but the best are still 85% (accurate), so even the best are going to miss at times.”
So it’s Argentina vs. Croatia (with one of the greats, 37-year-old Luka Modric) on Tuesday; France vs. Morocco, Wednesday.
--What awful news we received late Friday night, the death of 48-year-old journalist Grant Wahl in Qatar.
Wahl, the most prominent soccer writer of his generation, certainly in the United States, attended the quarterfinal between Argentina and the Netherlands and collapsed in his seat at the start of extra time before paramedics treated him for up to 20 minutes, according to Washington Post reporter Steven Goff, who was also covering the match.
“The entire U.S. soccer family is heartbroken to learn that we have lost Grant Wahl,” U.S. Soccer wrote in a statement. “Fans of soccer and journalism of the highest quality knew we could always count on Grant to deliver insightful and entertaining stories about our game, and its major protagonists: teams, players, coaches and the many personalities that make soccer unlike any sport.”
Wahl had been detained earlier during the tournament by Qatari security guards at a stadium when he arrived to the U.S.-Wales games wearing a rainbow soccer ball T-shirt. Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar. Wahl, on his Substack, wrote that security guards refused to let him in, detained him for 25 minutes and demanded he remove his shirt.
In its statement, U.S. Soccer added: “Grant’s passion for soccer and commitment to elevating its profile across our sporting landscape played a major role in helping to drive interest in and respect for our beautiful game. As important, Grant’s belief in the power of the game to advance human rights was, and will remain, an inspiration to all.”
Wahl joined Sports Illustrated in 1996 and worked at the magazine until 2020. He covered men’s and women’s World Cups, European soccer and the growth of the sport in the United States.
Among his other work was the first cover story for SI on LeBron James, titled “The Chosen One,” in 2002, when James was a junior in high school. James offered his sympathies after his game Friday night and remembered Wahl fondly.
[His tenure at SI ended abruptly in 2020 over a dispute about pandemic-related pay cuts, according to the New York Times.]
Wahl was tweeting commentary during the game and his final one before he collapsed was at the end of the second half after Netherlands tied the game. “Just an incredible designed set-piece goal by the Netherlands,” he wrote.
Wahl was married to Dr. Celine Gounder, the infectious diseases expert who made frequent appearances on the networks during the pandemic and served on President Biden’s advisory council.
Much is being said and written about his death, his brother, who is gay, saying Grant was “murdered.”
The thing is, Wahl wrote on Monday that he had visited a medical clinic that journalists had access to “and they said I probably have bronchitis,” he wrote on Substack. Doctors prescribed antibiotics which appeared to work, Wahl said.
But fellow journalists say he hadn’t been feeling well since he arrived in Qatar, complaining to one he had tightness in his chest. Wahl wrote that he had been testing himself for Covid and kept coming up negative.
I’ll leave it at that. It’s a classic case of ‘wait 24 hours.’ His wife will no doubt lead us to the right conclusion over time.
Our sympathies to this great writer’s family and friends.
--In the NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship, Monday night, it’s going to be Indiana vs. Syracuse for the national title; Indiana having beaten Pitt 2-0 in their semifinal on Friday, Syracuse defeating Creighton 3-2 in the other.
Since I last posted….
--Us Mets fans are very happy. Uncle Stevie has come through, money be damned. After letting Jacob deGrom go, and starter Taijuan Walker go, our dear owner signed Justin Verlander and Jose Quintana, reliever David Robertson, and re-signed key outfielder Brandon Nimmo to an 8-year, $162 million contract. Plus we had re-signed closer Edwin Diaz. And we picked up some other bullpen pieces. Just need one more starter and we’re fine.
Yes, fans are bitching for another bat, but it’s not necessary with Brett Baty and Francisco Alvarez waiting in the wings.
Well…I woke up Sunday morning to the startling news that Uncle Stevie reached an agreement with Japanese star right-hander Kodai Senga, five years, $75 million, including an opt-out after the third year and a no-trade clause.
Senga, who turns 30 in January, has recorded a 2.59 ERA with 10.3 strikeouts per nine innings in 11 seasons pitching in Nippon Professional Baseball. He had a 1.94 ERA and 156 strikeouts in 144 innings for the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks last season.
Mets fans hope they have a Yu Darvish on their hands. Senga is a Darvish disciple and has trained with the Padres right-hander during the offseason in the United States.
--About an hour-and-a-half after I posted last Wed. morning, saying it appeared Aaron Judge was signing with San Francisco, of course he re-signed with the Yanks…nine years, $360 million taking him to his age 40.
As Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News put it:
“In the end, the Yankees didn’t just hold on to Aaron Judge. They held on for dear life.
“The Yankees threw crazy money and a crazy contract at Judge because they had to, because they couldn’t lose their star and the face of their franchise and 62 home runs, because if they didn’t hold on to him, they were going to rile up their fan base more than it’s riled up already. In all possible ways, the Yankees could not afford to swing and miss with Aaron Judge.”
Just a wee bit more than last spring’s 7-year, $213 million offer.
But as I go to post, this is basically all the Yanks have done this postseason…is stand pat and lose a starter, Jameson Taillon. Maybe they re-sign Andrew Benintendi, but if I’m a Yankees fan, I’m like, “Wow, freakin’ Andrew Benintendi…hand me my sword…”
Look what the Mets have done. Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner have to match it and the opportunities to do so are rapidly dwindling.
Which is why as I go to post, there is no doubt the Yanks are doing all they can to sign starter Carlos Rodon.
--Boston saw shortstop and third baseman Xander Bogaerts go to San Diego on an 11-year, $280 million contract that takes him into his age 41 season, which is beyond absurd.
San Diego’s infield already includes Fernando Tatis Jr. on a 14-year, $340 deal, and Manny Machado for 10 years and $300 million. Plus they have Ha-Seong Kim, who has proved to be a quality shortstop. Tatis is expected to move to the outfield.
But Machado can opt out after 2023, and the Padres are not confident they’ll be the ones signing Juan Soto to a long-term deal when he becomes a free agent after 2024.
So it’s all in for 2023, with this formidable group.
Meanwhile, Boston signed Japanese superstar Masataka Yoshida to a five-year, $90 million deal. A lot of folks are scratching their heads over this one. The guy seldom strikes out, but his other stats, including 21 home runs in each of his last two seasons for the Orix Buffaloes, are highly unlikely to translate to the majors.
The Red Sox also signed closer Kenley Jansen to a two-year deal, $32 million.
--Of the four marquee free agent shortstops on the market this winter, Trae Turner agreed to an 11-year, $300 million deal with the Phillies, and there’s Bogaerts’ contract.
Carlos Correa and Dansby Swanson remain.
--The Cardinals found their replacement for Yadier Molina, signing Willson Contreras to a five-year, $87.5 million deal.
In seven seasons with the Cubs, Contreras hit .256 with 117 home runs and 365 RBIs. He’s a 20-homer guy who will DH and play a little first base.
Molina retired after 19 seasons, all with the Cardinals, and he’s headed to Cooperstown after being a 10-time All Star and two-time World Series champion, winning nine Gold Gloves.
--In the early games Sunday….
My Jets (7-6) lost a second straight game where they played well, on both sides of the ball, falling at Buffalo, 20-12, in crappy conditions, and you just shrug your shoulders, as opposed to shaking your head.
Jets quarterback Mike White did more yet again to solidify his position in the locker room with a particularly gutty performance, knocked out twice, clearly with a rib injury, yet kept coming back, finishing 27/44, 268, 0-0, 78.6.
But the Jets had two fumbles, one by his temporary replacement, Joe Flacco, and in the end, despite holding the Bills to a mere 232 yards, Josh Allen and Co. got it done, the Bills now 10-3.
--The Jets can still make a playoff run, but next week they face the red-hot Lions, winners of 5 of 6 and now 6-7 after a terrific 34-23 win over the Vikings (10-3) in Detroit.
Minnesota’s Kirk Cousins threw for 425 yards and two touchdowns, with receiver Justin Jefferson having another monster game, 11-223, to bring his season yardage total to 1,500 (Calvin Johnson with the league record, 1,964 yards in 16 games back in 2012), but Jared Goff was equally good, 27/39, 330, 3-0, 120.7, and Summit’s Michael Badgley hit two big field goals in the fourth quarter for Detroit from 41 and 48, after missing one earlier. Oh, if he could only have that 29-yarder back on Thanksgiving Day, Detroit could be 7-6.
--Speaking of MetLife Stadium, where the Jets entertain the Lions next Sunday, the co-tenants of the dull place, the Giants, fell to 7-5-1 as the Eagles (12-1) rolled them, 48-22.
Jalen Hurts had two touchdown passes, and rushed for 77 yards, and Miles Sanders carried the ball 17 times for 144 and two touchdowns for Philly, the Eagles picking up 253 on the ground overall as they exhibited their usual balanced attack that will be so formidable in January.
--The Bengals (9-4) won their fifth in a row, 7 of 8, 23-10 over the Browns (5-8). Joe Burrow wasn’t scintillating, 18/33, 239, 2-1, but he has Ja’Marr Chase, 10-119-1, and the Cincy ‘D’ held Cleveland’s Nick Chubb to just 34 yards on 14 carries. [They say Deshaun Watson was at QB for the Browns…I just don’t care.]
--Dallas, pathetically, needed a 98-yard drive at the end of the game to hold off the soon-to-be-relegated Texans (1-11-1), Dak Prescott looking really shitty again, but Jerry Jones’ Boys are 10-3.
--Steve G. is celebrating Jacksonville’s fifth win, 5-8, as Trevor Lawrence is coming into his own, 30/42, 368, 3-0, 121.9, and former Giant Evan Engram had 11 receptions for 162 yards and two scores in the Jags’ 36-22 win over Tennessee.
The Titans (7-6) lost their third in a row, despite Derrick Henry getting back into form, 17 carries for 121 yards and a touchdown.
--Baltimore is 9-4 with a 16-14 win over Pittsburgh (5-8), the Ravens without Lamar Jackson but rushing for 215 yards, while the Steelers’ Mitch Trubisky threw three interceptions after Kenny Pickett went out under concussion protocol early.
--What a cool finish Thursday night in Thousand Oaks, Calif., as the Rams new quarterback, Baker Mayfield, on the team less than 48 hours, practicing just Wednesday, led the Rams (4-9) to a stunning 17-16 win over the Raiders (5-8) who had won three straight. L.A. broke a six-game losing streak.
Mayfield led two fourth-quarter touchdown drives – and capped the second one, which started at the Rams’ 2-yard-line, with a touchdown pass to Van Jefferson with 10 seconds left for the win.
According to Elias Sports Bureau, the Rams’ 98-yard drive was the longest go-ahead touchdown drive that began in the final two minutes over the last 45 seasons. And this was a guy who began reading the play book on a late Tuesday night flight to Los Angeles.
The Rams were the only team to put in a waiver claim for Mayfield – who was waived by Carolina on Tuesday.
So with starter Matthew Stafford likely out for the season because of a spinal cord contusion, Mayfield has a huge opportunity. He got it largely because backup quarterback John Wolford started last week in a loss to Seattle despite having a neck injury, which wasn’t good, though Wolford started Thursday, with Mayfield taking over on the second possession. Baker finished a solid 22/35, 230, 1-0, 91.4.
Heck, maybe Progressive Insurance will give Baker back his spokesman role with another win or two.
--A final report from the House Committee on Oversight and Reform found that Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder evaded questions by saying more than 100 times that he did not know or could not recall information and gave “misleading” answers when he testified remotely in July as part of a congressional investigation of his team’s workplace.
As reported by the Washington Post:
“The 79-page report on the Democratic-led investigation gave the strongest indication yet that the team or someone working on its behalf leaked the inflammatory emails that prompted Congress to get involved in October 2021. According to the report, former team president Bruce Allen testified to the committee that a top NFL official told him the team’s “side” leaked the emails that led to Jon Gruden’s resignation from his position as coach of the Las Vegas Raiders.
“Allen also testified to the committee that Snyder spoke about using private investigators to gather information on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, according to the report.
“Snyder testified that the team informed the NFL in 2009 about allegations against him that led to a $1.6 million settlement with a former employee who accused him of sexual assault. That assertion stood in contrast to Goodell’s June testimony, during which he was asked whether the league was told of the allegation and replied, ‘I don’t recall him informing [the league] of that, no.’ The report said the NFL subsequently ‘informed the Committee that the Team did not disclose the specific nature of this allegation to the NFL until more than 10 years later, in 2020’ during an investigation conducted by attorney Beth Wilkinson. Wilkinson’s investigation prompted a July 2021 agreement negotiated by the league and Snyder, under which the team was fined $10 million and Snyder stepped away from the franchise’s daily operations.”
Republican staffers on the committee wrote the investigation was a “sham” and “a one-sided investigation into a private company with no connection to the federal government. This entire charade has been an attempt to distract the American people from President Biden’s self-inflicted crises.”
Ah, such is the state of affairs in the U.S. these days.
The Commanders announced last month that Snyder had hired an investment bank to weigh offers for a potential sale of the team, either entirely or in part. Back in October, Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay said the owners should consider removing Snyder as Commanders’ owner.
The committee’s investigation began in the wake of Gruden’s Oct. 2021 resignation from the Raiders after the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times published emails sent to Allen’s team account in which Gruden used racist, homophobic and misogynistic language over approximately seven years of correspondence while he worked for ESPN.
--It was heartbreak city in Philadelphia for the 123rd meeting of Army-Navy, which stunningly, for the first time, went to overtime. Two extra sessions finally settled things, and it ended in crushing fashion for the Midshipmen, who fell, 20-17.
Army’s Quinn Maretzki kicked the decisive 39-yard field goal after Midshipmen fullback Anton Hall Jr. fumbled the ball at the goal line in the second OT, with Army defensive lineman Darius Richardson recovering. The Black Knights then just had to be conservative and called three straight running plays before Maretzki converted a kick that sends him into West Point lore.
Poor Hall, who finished with 99 yards rushing on just seven carries.
In what had been a mind-numbing display of dreadful offensive football in regulation, both teams scored touchdowns on their first snaps in overtime. Army’s Markel Johnson ripped off a 25-yard run, and Navy countered with quarterback Xavier Arline’s 25-yard pass to Maqel Haywood. It was the only pass Arline threw the entire game…the only pass Navy completed!
At the end of regulation, Navy had outgained Army 235-125 yards. That was it. Navy ended up 1 of 4 passing, Army 2 of 12.
--As expected, USC quarterback Caleb Williams was named the 2022 Heisman Trophy winner Saturday night, beating out Max Duggan (TCU), Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud and Georgia’s Stetson Bennett.
“This is really awesome to be up here,” Williams said during his acceptance speech in which he expressed appreciation for his offensive linemen, his parents, his coaches, Heisman voters and the other three finalists. “…I may be standing up here today, but y’all get to go to the College Football Playoff. I guess you can’t win ‘em all.”
USC coach Lincoln Riley has now coached three Heisman winners, Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray the others when he was at Oklahoma.
Williams suffered a hamstring injury in the Trojan’s Dec. 2 loss in the Pac-12 championship to Utah and is questionable for the Cotton Bowl against Tulane on Jan. 2.
Quarterbacks have won the Heisman 19 of the last 23 years since 2000.
Williams, having transferred to USC from Oklahoma when Riley got the head job, is the fourth transfer to win the Heisman in the last six years, joining Mayfield, Murray and Joe Burrow (2019) of LSU.
Williams, by the way, will be returning next season as he can’t head out to the draft yet. So he’ll be attempting to match former Ohio State running back Archie Griffin as the only two-time winner in the award’s history. This year, Alabama’s Bryce Young was trying to do the same but he didn’t even make it to New York as one of the four finalists, though he had a solid season.
But when it comes to 2023, it’s going to be about who starts at QB for Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee (where Hendon Hooker heads off to the NFL) and Ohio State. Whoever emerges at these schools will no doubt post gaudy numbers.
--Jeff Brohm, a star quarterback at Louisville back in the day, is the new head coach at his alma mater after being the head guy at Purdue the past six seasons and guiding them to the Big Ten championship game this season.
Brohm replaced Scott Satterfield, who left to take the Cincinnati job last week.
--In the NCAA FCS/Division I-AA Football Championship, we have a final four of No. 1 South Dakota State vs. 4 Montana State, and 3 North Dakota State vs. 7 Incarnate World (UIW).
UIW has rocketed into the sports world’s consciousness. In their 66-63 (in regulation) win over 2-seed Sacramento State (whose coach, Troy Taylor, took the head job at Stanford), UIW quarterback Lindsey Scott Jr. passed for four touchdowns and rushed for 166 yards on 19 carries with two more scores.
Scott and UIW went 75 yards on 7 plays in 1:16 for the win.
--I watched the Rutgers game Thursday night at Ohio State and what a heartbreaking loss for the Scarlet Knights (6-3), who played their hearts out and probably should have won.
For the seventh time in seven trips to Columbus, the Scarlet Knights fell to Ohio State, falling 67-66 as the Buckeyes hit a three-pointer at the buzzer.
Rutgers led by two points with five seconds to go when guard Caleb McConnell missed the second free throw of a one-and-one, leading to a controversial finish.
Freshman guard Brice Sensebaugh rebounded the miss and passed it to Bruce Thornton, who dribbled into McConnell and potentially stepped out of bounds with his right foot. The official did not blow his whistle, allowing Thornton to pass to Tanner Holden, who hit the game-winner that sent the home crowd into the frenzy.
But Holden also stepped out of bounds before catching the ball and taking the shot, which was another missed call.
So two missed calls, no violation, and Ohio State handed RU a gut-wrenching loss.
--Saturday, 8 Alabama (8-1) came from down 15 in the second half to pull off the upset at No. 1 Houston (9-1), 71-65.
There were no other upsets in the top ten, and 10 Arizona (8-1) beat 14 Indiana (8-2) 89-75.
But my Wake Forest Demon Deacons (7-3) blew a huge opportunity in falling to LSU (8-1) at a tournament in Atlanta. The Deacs were up 39-19 in the first half and ended up losing 72-70, as we literally made one three-pointer in the final 35 minutes (5-24 overall). Wake needs these out-of-conference games for the NCAA Selection Committee’s approval.
LSU is not bad, and should be ranked this week, as they are led by KJ Williams, who had 35 points and 10 rebounds. If that name sounds familiar, he’s the forward who starred at Murray State for four years before transferring for his grad season and enhancing his NBA Draft standing. At 6’10”, 250, Williams hit 7 of 9 from three.
I can’t help but add the ACC is a total mess this year and all the more reason I’m going to be frustrated if the Deacs don’t finish over .500 in the conference, which would put them in line for an NCAA berth, you’d think.
Last night, Florida State won just its second game of the season, now 2-9, against Louisville 89-75. The Cardinals are 0-9! Good gawd!
And Clemson (8-3) got mauled by Loyola Chicago (5-5) 76-58, after the Tigers looked so good in whipping Wake Forest last weekend, 77-57.
--I was watching college basketball Saturday, following Army-Navy, and totally forgot The Match was on. Doesn’t seem like I missed much as Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth cruised to victory over Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy 3-and-2 in 10 holes (of 12 scheduled) under the lights in Belleair, Florida. Thomas and Spieth combined for seven birdies compared to just one for Tiger and Rory.
They say Woods didn’t look good, which doesn’t bode well for those of us who would like to see him be competitive in The Masters…a tradition unlike any other…on CBS.
--We note the passing of Mills Lane, a former district attorney and judge who became one of boxing’s most prominent referees, overseeing more than 100 championship bouts and delivering his exuberant catchphrase – “Let’s get it on!” – before the first round began. He died Tuesday at his home in Reno, Nevada. He was 85. Lane had suffered a stroke back in 2002, which left him unable to speak, according to his son.
Lane, a former amateur and professional boxer, refereed bouts between many of boxing’s best champions, including Muhammad Ali, Larry Holmes, Roberto Duran, Marvelous Marvin Hagler and Thomas Hearns. Lane’s legal career was in Washoe County, where Reno is the county seat and as a prosecutor he was called “Maximum Mills,” for the long sentences he was able to secure against defendants.
We need more prosecutors today to be like “Maximum Mills”…but I digress.
Mills oversaw the 1997 bout between Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield for the heavyweight championship when Tyson, enraged at being headbutted by Holyfield in the second round, bit off a piece of Holyfield’s right ear and spit it to the mat during the third.
“He bit him!” Lane shouted. “He’s disqualified!” But after consulting with Marc Ratner of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, and after the ringside doctor affirmed Holyfield could continue, the fight went on with Mills having deducted two points from Tyson for the grotesque foul.
Tyson, though, later in the third, chomped on Holyfield’s left ear, which prompted Lane to disqualify him for good.
Lane, who became a district judge in 1990, carried a gun to defend himself if any of the people he put away came after him. He once told the New York Times, “I’ve got two darling sons… If somebody was to come to my home and hurt my boys intentionally, I’d have a tag on their toes before the sun goes down.”
And as Richard Sandomir of the New York Times writes:
“An hour before the Tyson-Holyfield fight, a memorabilia collector from Canada offered Mr. Lane $200 for the blue shirt that he would wear in the ring.
“ ‘Hey man, one more thing,’ Mr. Lane said he told the man when he recounted the story for The Times. ‘It’s probably gonna be a dirty shirt after this is over.’
“ ‘Don’t care,’ the man said. ‘I want the blood and all.’
“ ‘OK,’ Mr. Lane said. ‘The blood and all.’
“He sold it and, because of the notoriety of the fight, had some regrets.
“ ‘What I should’ve done was hold my shirt up and start the bidding at $200,’ Mr. Lane said. ‘I could’ve probably gotten $4,000 for it, but, oh well, I’d given the man my word.’”
Imagine what the shirt could fetch today? Wonder what happened to it?
--More on the hero sheepdog Casper, who saved a flock of sheep, that I wrote of the other day.
Kyle Melnick / Washington Post
“John Wierwille sprang out of bed early one November morning when he heard coyotes outside his Decatur, Ga., home. But by the time the sheep farmer made it outside to check on his flock, his sheepdogs were already on the scene.
“Casper, a 21-month-old Great Pyrenees, soon led a counterattack and hopped a four-foot fence. Over the next several minutes, Wierwille said Casper killed eight of the 11 coyotes on his property and chased away the rest. The five sheep remained unharmed.
“Despite suffering life-threatening injuries in the Nov. 4 attack, Casper has since recovered and returned home Wednesday, Wierwille said….
“ ‘It was chaos,’ Wierwille told The Washington Post. “It was not how we wished things had gone, but we’re glad he made it. He was doing his job, and that’s what I think everybody appreciates about him.”
Casper is an internet hero.
Wierwille is a former pastor who created a shepherding company, Ewe Can Do It Naturally. He now leases to neighbors about 300 sheep that eat and remove dangerous plants, such as poison ivy and oak.
“To protect his sheep, Wierwille adopted six Great Pyreneeses, which were bred centuries ago to defend farm animals and can weigh more than 100 pounds.”
Wierwille picked up Casper in September after seeing a Facebook post from a farmer advertising the dog.
“Wierwille said his new dogs usually feud with his sheep. But when 85-pound Casper arrived at the quarter-acre yard in Georgia, he instead gathered the sheep and laid his head on the smallest one. When Casper met Wierwille’s 30 chickens, he ran around the coop with them.
“ ‘It was to say, ‘I got you. You’re mine now,’’ Wierwille said.
“When Wierwille heard the coyotes yipping last month, he said his dogs had herded five sheep into a corner of the fence for protection. Casper, who Wierwille said had never been aggressive toward other animals, stood at the front of the pack, watching the 11 coyotes.
“As Wierwille began sprinting back toward his house to grab boots and a broom, he saw Casper jump the green fence. The dog bit the coyotes’ heads, Wierwille said, and threw their bodies over his shoulder. Wierwille is unsure if the coyotes attacked first or if Casper was trying to defend his partner, Daisy, who was pregnant with eight puppies.
“John Heldrich, the founder of Great Pyrenees Rescue of Atlanta, said Great Pyreneeses usually scare away predators by barking and howling. But if they feel threatened, Great Pyreneeses can be among the fiercest dogs, Heldrich said.
“ ‘They won’t stop until they feel that their family’s safe,’ he added. ‘They will give up their lives for their family, so to speak.’”
Casper has two months of recovery before he can guard the sheep, so he’s learning to be an inside dog.
“It’s been a long road,” said Wierwille, “and there’s a lot more road to go for us, but we’ll do it together. I’m glad to have him.”
--And we note the passing of Jule Campbell, 96, the mastermind of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.
After a highly modest beginning in 1964, Andre Laguerre, SI’s editor at the time, summoned Ms. Campbell, then a fashion reporter for the magazine whom he held in high regard and told her: “How would you like to go to some beautiful place and put a pretty girl on the cover?”
Campbell’s first cover was in January 1965, 18-year-old Sue Peterson, the film shoot in Baja California.
Middle America went nuts, and not in a good way…but a publishing behemoth was born. And Campbell turned some of the models into household names…Paulina Porizkova, Elle MacPherson, Cheryl Tiegs, Kathy Ireland and Christie Brinkley, for starters.
[As us old folks remember, the second-best part of the issue was seeing all the letters blasting it two weeks later.]
Thank you, Jule Campbell. You will see her name in these pages in a few weeks for a special honor.
Top 3 songs for the week 12/14/68: #1 “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” (Marvin Gaye) #2 “Love Child” (Diana Ross and The Supremes) #3 “For Once In My Life” (Stevie Wonder)…and…#4 “Abraham, Martin and John” (Dion…story is he wrote this in like ten minutes…) #5 “Who’s Making Love” (Johnnie Taylor) #6 “Hey Jude” (The Beatles) #7 “Wichita Lineman” (Glen Campbell…in my top ten all time…) #8 “Stormy” (Classics IV featuring Dennis Yost…probably in my all-time top 40…) #9 “I Love How You Love Me” (Bobby Vinton) #10 “Magic Carpet Ride” (Steppenwolf…A+ week…)
College Football / Heisman Quiz Answer: Eight running backs to win the Heisman between 1968 and 1981 who were not USC Trojans….
1969 – Steve Owens (Oklahoma)
1972 – Johnny Rodgers (Nebraska…yes, running back / wide receiver)
1973 – John Cappelletti (Penn State)
1974-75 – Archie Griffin (Ohio State)
1976 – Tony Dorsett (Pitt)
1977 – Earl Campbell (Texas)
1978 – Billy Sims (Oklahoma)
1979 – White
1980 – George Rogers (South Carolina)
A very brief Add-on up top by noon, Wed.