By Hal McCoy
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from the Man Cave, sad that the NFL season is over, but love college basketball and happy to see them break out the bats, balls and glove in Arizona and Florida.
—SUPER OR STUPOR?: Some thoughts on the Super Bowl, most of which have nothing to do with a sensational game during which Kansas City outlasted Philadelphia, 38-35.
^Chris Stapleton’s National Anthem rendition was off the charts, but he strung it out and bettors who took the over (plus 110 seconds) were winners. And nobody will forget the tears of joy streaming down the cheeks of Eagles coach Nick Sirianno during the song.
^There was an over/under on the halftime show, too. If you are under 40 you probably loved Rihanna. If you are over 40, you probably hated it. Me? I gave it 10 yawns, so guess how old I am. She is pregnant and hid it with a red dress that looked as if it doubles as an awning in front of Macy’s.
^As always, Fox broadcaster Terry Bradshaw made an ass of himself on the post-game show. His introduction of portly Kansas City coach Andy Reid: “Hey, let’s get the big guy up here. C’mon, big guy, waddle on up here.” And then he dismissed him by saying, “Now go have yourself a cheeseburger.”
^The alwayd hyped-up commercials? Ten more yawns. Bring back the Budweiser Clydesdales.
^Patrick Mahomes was rightfully the MVP because his team won, but Jalen Hurts was the better quarterback. He accounted for four touchdowns — three rushing (most ever for a Super Bowl quarteback), one passing and ran a two-point conversion. He rushed for 70 yards (most for a Super Bowl quarterback) and passed for 304 yards. Mahomes was a solid 21 for 27 for 182 yards and three touchdowns. But Hurts was above and beyond.
^And there can’t be an NFL game without an officiating faux pas. With the score tied, 35-35, and 1:54 left in the game, Mahomes threw a third down incomplete pass toward Ju Ju Smith-Schuster. But out came the yellow laundry. Eagles cornerback James Bradberg was flagged for holding.
That gave the Chiefs a first down and enabled them to run down the clock so the Eagles woud have no time left after the Chiefs kicked the winning field goal.
The penalty? Bradberg appeared to have his hand on Smith-Schuster’s back but not holding, something every defensive back does on just about every play. The whistle-bloweres can’t seem to stay out of the way.
—ALPHABETICAL ALL-STARS: With spring training and baseball upon us, and time for me to watch the movie ‘Major League,’ somebody put together this incredible list. It is the most career home runs by the first letter of each name.
Albert Pujols, 703.
*Barry Bonds, 763.
Carlos Delgado, 473.
*David Ortiz, 541.
Ernie Banks/Eddie Mathews, 512.
Frank Robinson, 586.
Gary Sheffield, 509.
Henry Aaron, 755.
Ivan Rodriguez, 311.
Jim Thome, 612.
Ken Griffey Jr., 630.
Lou Gehrig, 493.
*Mark McGwire, 583.
Nelson Cruz, 459.
Orlando Cededa, 379.
Paul Konerko, 439.
Quilvio Veras, 32.
*Rafeal Palmeiro, 569.
*Sammy Sosa, 609.
Ted Williams, 521.
U.L. Washington, 27.
Vladimir Guerrero, 449.
Willie Mays, 660.
Xavier Bogaerts, 156.
Yogi Berra, 358.
Zack Wheat, 132.
*The astericks are for obvious reasons.
—EXCITEMENT PERSONIFIED: Two Oklahoma high school teams combined to score six points in a game last week. It was Weatherford 4, Anadarko 2.
It was a protest score. Say what? Most Oklahoma high school coaches want a shot clock implemented, but the governing body turned it down.
The two coaches decided to hold the ball for most of the game as a protest. Wonder who decided who would score four and who would score two?
There is no shot clock for Ohio high schools and it seems to work out. . .until some huge underdog team decides to hold the ball.
—WHO’S THE DRAW?: What’s the over/under on attendance at Great American Ball Park this season?
Over the last eight years, the Cincinnati Reds have lost more than a million paying customers. They drew 2.48 million in 2014 and 1.4 million last season, their lowest since 1984.
Fans are drooling over the prospect of seeing 6-foot-5 shortstop Elly De La Cruz. But GM Nick Krall said Cruz most likely will start the season at Class AAA Louisville.
Hey, they can’t start that free agent clock too soon, can they?
Well, it’s a short haul down I-71 to Louisville.
—NO DOUBTING THOMAS: From my great friend, Brad Schmaltz, who lives in that foreign country called California: “Do you know it is almost impossible to have a Hall of Fame left tackle and go 48-128 during his tenure? Only the Browns.”
That’s how good Joe Thomas was and shows that the Browns are capable of miracles.
—A BROWN OUT: Somebody tell Kelly Clarkson that only we Cleveland Browns fans can make public fun of our beloved team.
She hosted the NFL’s Honors Show and in her opening monologue she said, “It was a crazy season. Thankfully the Browns restored order to the universe by doing a bunch of dumb Browns stuff, so that happened.”
She is no Joan Rivers or Phyllis Diller or Lucille Ball, that’s for sure. She should take the advice from one of her songs: ‘Walk Away.’ Fast.
—UD DIVERSITY: When the played (and won) a game at Virginia Commonwealth, the University of Dayton started five players from five different countries.
There was Toumani Camara from Belgium, Mustapha Amzil from Finland, Kobe Elvis from Canada, DaRon Holmes II from the U.S. and Mike Sharavjamts, the first citizen of Mongolia to play Division I basketball in America.
It will be really impressive if the Flyers find a player in Transnistria (population 475,373).
—TWO MALACHIS: Unless UD’s Malachi Smith has mastered time travel and has scholarships at two schools, there is a Malachi Smith playing at Gonzaga.
Wonder if Gonzaga’s Malachi Smith can loan Dayton’s Malachi Smith his ankles on game day? The ankles on UD’s Smith are as brittle as grandma’s ceramics.
—RECEIVERS GALORE: As a former wide receiver on a flag football team in a Kettering Rec Center league for broken down athletes, I’ve always watched pass receivers closely. And here is a list of my all-time favorites:
Paul Warfield, Gary Collins, Raymond Berry, Elroy ‘Crazy Legs’ Hirsch, Lance Rentzel, Lance Alworth, Jerry Rice, Randy Moss, Don Maynard, Wes Welker, Larry Fitzgerald, Drew Pearson, Cliff Branch, Andre Rison, Lynn Swann, Terrence Owens, Steve Largent, Fred Biletnikoff, Cris Carter, Hines Ward.
Sorry. . .no Chad (Ocho Cinco) Johnson and no Odell Beckham Jr.. Hey, it’s my list.
—TUG ON MY HEART: It was former Phillies/Mets closer Tug McGraw who was asked what he did with his $100,000 contract who said, “Ninety percent of my salary I spent on booze and women and the other ten percent I wasted.”
And it was Tug’s son, Tim McGraw, who sang one of my favorite songs and something I try to live by, “Always Stay Humble and Kind.”
My father was a country singer when he wasn’t toiling in Akron’s Goodrich Tire company. So country music is in my blood.
Some of my other favorites: You Were Always on My Mind by Willie Nelson, He Stop Lovin’ Her Today by George Jones, It’s Only Make Believe by Conway Twitty, I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry by Hank Williams Jr., I Will Always Love You by Dolly Parton, It Was Almost Like a Song by Ronnie Milsaps.