- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 11, 2006

Bill Belichick is just beautiful, isn’t he? After the Patriots are eliminated from the playoffs, we find out Tom Brady has been bothered by a sports hernia since November — though it was never mentioned on the team’s injury report. I’m tellin’ ya, if Belichick coached the Panthers, Rae Carruth would be listed as “day-to-day.”

• • •

Contrary to popular belief, the Rolling Stones weren’t the only ones censored by ABC during the Super Bowl telecast. Play-by-play man Al Michaels also got bleeped, I’m told, for noting that Shaun Alexander “broke back” against the grain.

• • •

Speaking of Michaels, did you see he got “traded” to NBC for, among other things, the rights to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, an early creation of Walt Disney’s? The deal ranks right up there with the one the Redskins made with the Brooklyn Tigers in 1944, a 12-player swap that was finalized only when Washington owner George Preston Marshall agreed to throw in a boxer dog, Toby.

Marshall’s wife, silent screen star Corinne Griffith, said she didn’t mind losing the players, but it killed her to give up Toby.

• • •

FYI: Among the half-dozen Redskins sent to Brooklyn was a back named Ray Hare — no relation, as far as I know, to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.

• • •

The Raiders’ lengthy coaching search came to an end yesterday when they hired Art Shell, who has already been fired once by Al Davis. Good thing Shell said “yes,” because the next name on Davis’ list, a source says, was Eddie Erdelatz.

• • •

Nice piece on D.C.’s Willie Wood in “Play,” the New York Times’ new sports quarterly. Wood, suggests author Michael Lewis (of “Moneyball” fame), was the real hero of Super Bowl I, his interception and 50-yard return setting up the Green Bay touchdown that essentially finished Kansas City. Can’t say I disagree with him.

The TV broadcasts of that game — both CBS and NBC carried it — are lost to history. “All that remains are the few highlights culled by the NFL before the tapes vanished,” Lewis writes. One of those highlights is Wood’s INT, which came early in the second half of what was then a 14-10 game.

Something I didn’t know: On the sideline afterward, Willie was picked up by microphones saying (to an audience of 65 million), “I thought I was going to go all the way on the dadgummed thing. I was undecided whether to change field or not.”

Wood says he didn’t realize the camera was there and was merely talking to a teammate.

• • •

I keep waiting for Alabama to get involved in this “12th Man” tiff between Texas A&M; and the Seattle Seahawks. I mean, didn’t a Tide player, Tommy Lewis, bolt off the sideline and tackle Rice’s Dicky Moegle in the 1954 Cotton Bowl? Who’s a more (in)famous “12th Man” than Lewis?

• • •

And let’s not forget Virginia trainer Joe Gieck trying to trip Virginia Tech’s Antonio Banks after the latter’s game-clinching interception in ‘95. Maybe the Cavaliers should insert themselves into the “12th Man” fray, too.

• • •

Florida football coach Urban Meyer, after it was learned that Governor Jeb Bush had sent a text message to much-sought-after recruit Myron Rolle, suggesting they “hook up with each other” when Rolle visited Florida State (as quoted by Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel): “I want to meet the governor and tell him that last time I checked, the University of Florida is a state institution, too.”

• • •

More from Meyer in Bianchi’s column: “To recruit well you have to be an octopus. You have to wrap your tentacles around everything associated with a kid: Who’s he dating? What family member is most important to him? You have to have complete involvement in that recruit.”

• • •

Who knew? Actor Al Lewis, who died recently at 82, was a basketball junkie who scouted players for Red Auerbach and Jerry Tarkanian — when he wasn’t busy with his role as Grandpa on “The Munsters,” that is.

“You can call Marty Blake, the chief scout for the NBA — he lives outside Atlanta — and ask him who is the most knowledgeable man of roundball you have ever met,” Lewis told the publication New Times in 1998. “Without hesitation, he will tell you Al Lewis. I have bird-dogged high school basketball since 1934. I have seen more high school games than Dean Smith and Lou Carnesecca combined.”

• • •

You don’t suppose Lewis tipped Auerbach off about Kevin McHale, do you? After all, McHale’s nickname with the Celtics was “Herman Munster.”

• • •

Speaking of Herman — the TV character, not the Celtic — I’m trying to imagine what Al might have said about him in a scouting report:

Tremendous size, but not real fluid. Also has trouble getting up and down the court, mostly because his legs come from different dead bodies. Might develop into a force in the low post, though, if he can master the hook shot. The player he most reminds me of is Mark Eaton.

One last note: The bolt in his neck could cause problems with airport security.

• • •

Grampa Munster claimed to have as many 60 major college coaches milking him for information. Something tells me one of them was Lon Chaney — I mean John Chaney.

• • •

Before “The Munsters,” Lewis played Officer Leo Schnauzer on “Car 54, Where Are You?” I can still remember one of his funnier lines:

“I got my wife a charm bracelet for Christmas a few years ago. She’s got a right arm now like one of the Green Bay Packers.”

• • •

By finagling her way onto our Olympic team one last time, Michelle Kwan, you’ve gotta believe, is hoping for a Dan Jansen happy ending.

• • •

News item: Phoenix Coyotes assistant coach Rick Tocchet faces charges in New Jersey for being involved in a sports gambling ring.

Comment: In a possibly related story, a man with a husky voice called FTD and wired Tocchet a dozen roses.

• • •

According to the Newark Star Ledger, authorities have a wiretap recording of Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky talking to Tocchet about wife Janet Jones’ betting. And get this: If you play the tape backward at slow speed, it says, “I buried … the puck in the top-left corner.”

• • •

Elsewhere in hockey, Boston College announced plans to play a game next season at Fenway Park. Just wondering: If the puck crosses both the first base line and the third base line, will it be considered a two-line pass?

• • •

And finally …

Memo to the BC team: There’s a bathroom in the Green Monster if you need it. Just knock first to make sure Manny Ramirez isn’t in there.


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