The World According to Keitho

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Posts Tagged ‘football’

Good riddance to Super Bowl LI

Posted by keithosaunders on February 6, 2017

Stick a fork in the football season. This was the worst football post season I can ever remember. The Giants laid an egg, the Raiders lost their QB to injury, and every game was lopsided. The Super Bowl was a piece of garbage. Why do they even let any team from Atlanta in that game? You would think, with a 28-3 lead the Falcons would at least run some clock. Would that have been asking too much?!

How fitting, in this era of Trump, that cheaters such as Brady and Belichick are rewarded with accolades and Super Bowl victories. They lucked into it this year by playing the ultimate chump team, and they lucked into it two years ago when Seattle, for some fix-is-in reason, neglected to hand the ball off to Marshawn Lynch FROM THE HALF YARD LINE.

I hate all sports.

 

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Posted in football, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments »

Your obligatory Super Bowl post

Posted by keithosaunders on February 6, 2016

I feel guilty about my lack of enthusiasm over Sunday’s big game but for whatever reason I just can’t seem to get excited over it.  Part of the reason is that I have an early starting solo piano gig that’s going to interfere with me seeing the fourth quarter.  Fortunately I have a good line of sight from the piano to the TV but I’m a little farther away than I’d like to be which will make identifying the holding calls tough.

The game is being played in Santa Clara which is 40 miles south of where I live. This is where the 49ers moved two season ago — a corporate designer stadium monstrosity. From all counts Levi’s Stadium has a nightmare parking situation which can take hours to enter and exit.   Route 101 is a tough artery to deal with in the best of circumstances but one can only imagine how much worse it will be tomorrow.  Throw in the post 9/11 security and you couldn’t pay me enough to attend this game.  I’ve heard that there are people who flew in from out of town that aren’t able to go to the game but are going to local Santa Clara bars so that they can be close to the action.  I pity these dullards.  Stay at home and watch from your couch, for crying out loud.  Santa Clara has no ambiance!

All of the Super Bowl festivities, whatever they are, have taken place in San Francisco which has made it tough for the working stiff musician to get into town for his gigs. (I live across the bay in a town just north of Berkeley called Albany)  Tonight I’m gigging in North Beach which is a part of San Francisco that is only a 20 minute walk from the a Bart station.  Tomorrow, however, I’m working in a part of San Francisco not serviced by Bart so I’ll have to drive.  I’m hoping that everyone will already be ensconced at the TV of their choice by the time I have to leave.

And there you have it:  My Super Bowl post.  My prediction:  Carolina 28 Denver 7.

Posted in football, San Francisco, Super Bowl, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

1958

Posted by keithosaunders on January 14, 2016

In the meantime I’ve read a great book – The Glory Game –  by former NY Giants running back, Frank Gifford about the 1958 NFL Championship game between the Giants and the Colts.  This was the game that is considered to have put the NFL on the map on its way to sports supremacy.

Now talk about salaries:  Most of these players were earning less than $10,000 a year – well less.  Many of the players couldn’t afford their own apartments, doubling up in dorm like rooms in a Bronx Hotel a few blocks up from Yankee Stadium where they played their home games.

They played 12 game seasons. The league was divided into two conferences consisting of six teams.  There were no playoffs!  In 1958 the Giants finished in a tie with the Cleveland Browns so they, in fact, did have to play a playoff game which they won on a last second field goal by Pat Summerall.  (yes, that Pat Summerall)

My father, who recently passed away, went to the Championship game with my Uncle Herb. It was played on December 28th at Yankee Stadium.  They didn’t have tickets — they decided on the spur of the moment to go.  Imagine a world in which you can take a subway to a stadium where a championship game is being played, walk up to the box office, and buy a ticket.  That’s what they did.  They probably paid $5.00.  (incidentally, my best friend, who lives in the Bronx, tells of doing the same thing for the 1976 World Series between the Yankees and Reds)

The Giants started off shaky with sloppy offense and porous defense.  Gifford, never known as a good ball handler, fumbled twice and as a result the Giants found themselves down 14-3 at the half.  In the second half the Giants turned it around and took the lead 17-14.  A late Giant drive stalled out at their own 40 and with 4th and inches and 2:30 to go in the game coach Jim Lee Howell elected to punt. A first down would have put effectively put the game away for the Giants.

After a punt the Colts took over on their own 14 and that’s all Unitas needed.  He proceeded to engineer one of the great drives in NFL history, picking apart the tired New York defense.  The drive ended in a 20 yard field goal as the clock expired in regulation forcing the very first overtime game in NFL history.  No NFL game to that point had ever gone overtime.    Don’t forget, up until the 1980s if a regular season game ended in a tie it was over.  There was no sudden death overtime — there were ties.  So when the clock ran out the players didn’t know what they were supposed to do!

The Giants won the coin toss and elected to receive.  Don Maynard, who would later go on to win a Superbowl with the Jets, muffed the kickoff return but recovered his own fumble.  Regardless, the Giants went 3 and out and punted.  The Colts took over on their own 20 and once again Unitas put together an epic drive culminating in a Alan Ameche touchdown.

Some people consider this the greatest game ever played.  All I know is that my Dad was there and that I have the program to prove it.

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Posted in football, sports, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

A lull in the sports world

Posted by keithosaunders on December 18, 2015

This is a terrible sports time of year but it’s not the worst — that dishonor belongs to February with its glut of meaningless NBA, NHL, & NCAA basketball games. Still, this is pretty bad.  The NFL playoffs are a month away and the bowl season, if you care about that sort of thing, won’t kick in for another two weeks.

Here in the Bay Area we had the Warriors winning streak to follow which was exciting.  How strange it was to care about basketball in November. Now that they’ve finally lost, their next meaningful game will be in April.

The worst thing about November through January is being bombarded with baseball player signing news.  This is the time of year where I learn that Jason Heyward, a pretty good, but not great player, will earn more in one at bat then I will in a year.  It’s out of control.  I get it – it’s nothing new –  supply and demand, free market, yadda yadda.  It’s just that I would rather not hear and read about salaries at all.  It takes me until June or July, when the pennant races begin heating up, to get the taste out of my mouth.

Not only is the baseball news a capitalist sack of you know what, the local football teams stink this year.  While the Raiders are much improved and are still mathematically alive, the 49ers are a stinking mess.

What else do I have to complain about?  Oh yeah, I haven’t done my Christmas shopping.

 

Posted in baseball, basketball, football, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

NFL, are you ready for greatness?

Posted by keithosaunders on February 10, 2011

Another Super Bowl is history and we now stagger into the dark period of the sports year when there is nothing to watch but meaningless regular season NBA and NHL games until the opening day of the baseball season comes to the rescue.  This year the doldrums will be a few days shorter owing to MLB having moved their opening day three days earlier than usual to March 31st. 

But I digress.  It was a good, not a great game.  The Packers dominated the first half until Pittsburgh obliged us by putting up a good fight in the second half only to fall short.  Boo hoo — they have enough championships.

What I really want to talk about is the halftime show, which was an abomination.  If the Black Eyed Peas is the best that the NFL can offer then maybe they ought to throw in the towel and go back to using Up With People.  I appreciate that the NFL is making an effort to appeal to a younger demographic, but for gods sake, don’t do it with mediocrity!  Better to trot out old leviathans such as The Who or The Stones.  At least they could rock at one point. (albeit a point that is now decades in the rear view mirror) 

Sending the Black Eyed Peas out to do a halftime show is like asking Pee Wee Herman to play Hamlet.  It’s not in their skill-set.  Fergie?!  Give me a break.  She sounds like my grandma on acid.  What’s more, the one song they do that I would have cared to hear  — My Humps — wasn’t suitable for Middle America.  That’s the song with these catchy lyrics:

What you gon’ do with all that junk?
All that junk inside your trunk?
I’ma get, get, get, get, you drunk,
Get you love drunk off my hump.
My hump, my hump, my hump, my hump, my hump,
My hump, my hump, my hump, my lovely little lumps 

Cole Porter couldn’t have said it better.

Fortunately for the NFL, I am here to solve their halftime problem.  Commishioner Goodell, if you want to hire an A-one class act that is professional, supremely talented, and under-the-radar, do yourself a favor and run, do not walk, to hire Cedar Walton.  There isn’t a better jazz pianist out there.  He’ll sound great, he’ll look marvellous, and best of all he will not embarrass you!  

Not only does Cedar bring excellence to the table, but he will imbue the halftime show with the dignity deserving of such event.  Us middle-aged jazzers will be thrilled to finally see our hero get his due, and the oldtimers will be happy not to have to fiddle with their hearing aids.  The youngsters will also be happy as long as you play up the fact that jazz is the most hated music of all time.  To them, seeing Cedar on the stage will be an enormous ‘fuck you’ to the yuppies that are pining to see the milquetoast bands of their youth. Not seeing Foreigner, Aerosmith, or Madonna on the stage will be worth putting up with ten minutes of hellaciously swinging hardbop.

Furthermore, I guarantee you that Cedar’s price tag will be hundreds of thousands less than The Police would have been.  It’s a win-win situation.  And just think how good those special effects will look to the sounds of Bolivia!   
    

Cedar Walton

Posted in football, jazz | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

Super Bowl memories: The return of the Jedi

Posted by keithosaunders on February 6, 2011

This has turned into a much bigger project than I had originally envisioned.  I felt the subject needed a little gravitas so naturally I went with Jedi.  I bet Lukie Skywalker doesn’t remember where he was for every Super Bowl. 

Super Bowl XXXIV — Atlanta

Rams vs Titans

The beginning of the aughties saw my Super Bowl viewing locale stabilize towards the greatest Borough in the world: The Bronx.  I would arrive at Jeff’s house about a half hour before game time ready for the pageantry that is the Super Bowl.  In keeping with the tradition begun over a decade earlier, the Super Bowl meal was always, and will always be, deli.  Let other people have wings, burgers, or whatever they want.  They’re peasants!  Real men eat kasha on Super Sunday. 

This was one of the great Super Bowls.  With three seconds remaining the Titans were at the Rams 10 yard line threatening to score the winning touchdown.  Quarterback Steve McNair passed to Kevin Dysan who caught the ball at the three yard line but was stopped at the one as the game clock elapsed.  

Super Bowl XXXV — Tampa

Ravens vs Giants

Nothing much to say here other than the Giants laid a huge egg in their return to Tampa.  I watched the game at my LIC apartment.  Perhaps the game was so traumatic that it wiped every detail of that day from my mind.  Moving on…

Super Bowl XXXVI — New Orleans

Patriots vs Rams

Back in the Bronx with Jeff and deli for the dawn of Patriots; unfortunately an era that persists to this day.  This was a great back and forth contest with the Patriot’s Adam Vinatieri kicking the deciding field goal as time expired.

Super Bowl XXXVII — San Diego

Buccaneers vs Raiders

It’s hard to believe there was a time in the not so distant past when the Raiders were good.  (and that the Buccanners have a Super Bowl victory) The Bucs coach, John Gruden, had previously coached the Raiders for three years.  Somehow the Raiders, even though their former coach was coaching against them, never bothered to change their playbook!  The result?  48-21 Bucs.

Super Bowl XXXVIII — Houston

Patriots vs Panthers

Keith:  What’s that?!

Jeff:  What?

Keith:  I think I just saw a nipple

Jeff:  What the hell are you talking about?!

Keith:  I’m not sure.  It happened so fast, but I think I just saw Janet Jackson’s nipple!

I was half-heartedly watching the halftime show.  Jeff was in the other room talking on the phone.  It was my dumb luck to witness the greatest split second of television history.  The beauty of it was that it could only be done once.  Shortly after the unveiling,  league rules were put in place insuring that every televised game would use a seven second delay.

 It was another great game and another great session of pageantry and deli at Jeff’s.  The game was tied late and we were in a frenzy looking forward to the first overtime game in Super Bowl history.  It was not to be, however, as an out-of-bounds Carolina kick off gave the Patriots great field position enabling Vinatieri to kick yet another game winning field goal.  32-29 Pats.

Super Bowl XXXIX — Jackoonville

Patriots vs Eagles

Jeff’s house. Deli.  Patriots.

Super Bowl XL — Detroit

Steelers vs Seahawks

Really, Seahawks?  Your one shot at a Super Bowl and this is what you give us:  Penalties, dropped passes, and poor clock management.  I’ll leave it to the readers to guess where I was and what I ate.

Super Bowl XLI– Miami

Colts vs Bears

My sixth straight year viewing the game in the Bronx saw Peyton Manning win the big prize.  Not much to say but Daaaaaaaa Bears! (lost)

Super Bowl XLII — Glendale, Arizona

Giants vs Patriots

I guess I picked the right year to throw my only Super Bowl party.  The Giants shocked the world and that blowhard Belicik went down along with Brady. (multiple times)  In attendance were my family, Jeff, drummer Taro Okamoto, and friends Thomas, Janet, and Ernie.  Afterwards I drove to Small’s jazz club in the Village and everyone was outside in a great mood, happy, yelling, honking horns.  No rioting, though.  People think that New York is a dangerous town but we never riot when our teams win.  So suck on that, Chicago!

Super Bowl XLIII — Tampa

Steelers vs Cardinals

Back at Jeff’s for this exciting matchup in which the Cardinals fell just short. This was yet another game that had overtime written all over it.  Late in the game the Cardinals had a three-point lead.  The Steelers had the ball and we figured they would play for a tieing field goal.  Wrong.  With 35 seconds left Roethlisberger through a touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes.  27-23 Steelers.

Super Bowl XXIV — Miami

Saints vs Colts

The Saints had the temerity to start the second half off with an onside kick.  They were successful but Jeff and I got a DSP.  (didn’t see play)  The Saints pulled away but the novelty of seeing New Orleans win the championship made up for the one-sided second half.

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This wraps up Keitho’s first ever Super Bowl memory recap.  Who knows what memories tomorrow’s game will bring?  I’ll be back in another 30 years to review the next batch.

Posted in football, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Seahawks give it!

Posted by keithosaunders on January 10, 2011

On Saturday the Seattle Seahawks pulled off the upset of the year beating the defending champion New Orleans Saints 41-36.  In the wake of the upset I hope I hope the NFL doesn’t mess with their playoff rules, preventing under .500 teams from qualifying.  True, the seedings are now skewed, but this is what makes sports worth watching — the unpredictable and the wacky.  This is the first time in over 80 years that a sub-.500 team has made the playoffs and I wouldn’t expect it to happen with any regularity. 

The Seahawks actually beat the Bears in week 6 of the regular season.  I’ll be rooting for them to knock off an inconsistent, yet consistently boring Bears team , thus putting the fear of God into the NFL (and myself)  of a Patriots-Seahawks Superbowl.  How about Jets-Seahawks?  We can dream, can’t we?

Posted in football | Tagged: , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Aloha

Posted by keithosaunders on December 24, 2010

I’m in Hawaii for Christmas.  Wasn’t there an Elvis song, Blue Hawaii?  Well that’s me this year; just me and The King.  I’m not going to waste your time describing what it’s like — you know the drill — tropical climate, the Leis, the Hulas, the Luaus, the one-armed, double-jointed stewardess.  Wait, did I go one too many?

A few points of interest are worth noting and then we’ll forget this ever happened.  After arriving at Kona Airport my sons and I drove one of the rental cars while my wife, ex-neighbor, and daughter took the other one.  Naturally, being guys, the  first thing we did was to check out the local radio stations.   First station,  reggae; second station, reggae; third station, smooth jazz; fourth station, reggae.  We even heard Christmas reggae music. 

“We wish you a reggae Christmas and a reggae New Year!” 

It’s a little too much, if you ask me.  There’s no jazz here, only of the smooth variety, and that’s not jazz, but Muzak to my ears. 

I don’t know how real sports fans live here.  Besides the fact that there are no pro local teams, with the earlier time zone the basketball and hockey games all begin at 2PM and are over with with by 9PM.  What do you do after that…listen to reggae? 

There is one perc, however.  This Sunday the Giants play a huge game in Green Bay against the Packers.  The game begins at 8AM Hawaiian time.  The way things are playing out I’ll be able to watch the entire game without disrupting my families’ plans.  I am da winnah.

Posted in basketball, football, life, music | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Grannypack

Posted by keithosaunders on December 10, 2010

I was watching last Monday night’s Jets debacle with my 13 year old son when he asked, “Hey Dad, why do they wear the granny-packs? 

Granny packs?

“Those things around their waists.  You know, man-purses.”

I gave a closer look and sure enough about half of the Jets offense were wearing granny-packs.  What, I wondered, could possibly be inside?  Extra mouthpieces?  Steroids? 

We noticed that the Patriots players weren’t wearing them.  Had Bill Belichick instituted a strict no granny-pack policy?  Perhaps this is the secret to their dominance.  No distractions.  Focus! 

The other thing I’ve noticed is that every team has at least one lineman who is so large that you wonder where he could possibly find work outside of the NFL or the Los Angeles Clippers.  It’s amazing how big some of them are.  300 pounds is svelte these days.  They move remarkably well for their size.  They are quick, agile, and not to be trifled with.  I can’t help wondering what kind of wear and tear a body that size endures.  It can’t be pretty.

Finally, it must be a rule that every team has to have at least one player with Troy Polamalu hair.  You know what I’m talking about– the long, flowing curly locks billowing out of the helmet.  At first Polamalu was the only guy with that look.  Now even my grandfather has it.  It’s like, remember when Telly Savalas and Yul Brynner were the only completely bald guys you had ever heard of?  These days bald is a look.  Come to think of it, this actually bodes well for me.

Who loves ya, baby?!

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And now for some Thanksgiving weekend taping foibles

Posted by keithosaunders on November 29, 2010

My friend, Jeff Mazzei, and I have spent many a fine afternoon recounting taping foibles; that is failed attempts at setting the VCR timer.  Yes, you read correctly, VCR.  I’m old school, baby!  Some of these anecdotes were recounted here.  As a kind of coda to the Thanksgiving weekend I present to you two more taping foibles of a most recent vintage.

Today I awoke to the good news that my New York Giants were getting some Bay Area television play.  This was a by-product of the hapless Raider’s inability to sell out their stadium.  The Raiders had a late game against Miami.  If that game had sold out it would have been televised in this market, thereby necessitating an early FOX game.  (the Giants were at home vs the AFC Jacksonville Jaguars which put them on CBS)  Instead we were treated to an early CBS game, the Giants, and a late FOX game, the Eagles vs da Bears.

I had an early brunch gig in San Francisco so I quickly sprung into action, setting my DVR (yes, I have moved into the 21st century) to record the Giants.  I checked and double checked and everything seemed to be in order.  I went to the gig without a worry in the world.

I arrived at the gig to find that there was a TV in the bar showing the Giants game.  No worries.  We were playing in a different part of the restaurant and the other musicians didn’t seem to sports fans.  Wrong.  The trumpet player arrived and quickly announced that he was the first cousin of David Girard, the Jaguar quarterback.

What are the odds?  You tape a game and end up playing a gig with the cousin of the quarterback of one of the teams you are taping!  Needless to say the trumpet player kept going into the bar to check on the score and he was not shy about letting us know that the Jaguars were kicking butt.  (they had an early 17-9 lead) 

By the first break I had abandoned all hope of avoiding the score so I happily joined the trumpet player in the bar for some third quarter action.  The Jags had the ball and were driving when the Giants D came up big for a stop.  A punt pinned the Giants at their own 10 and I boldly announced that they would drive 90 yards for the tying touchdown and two point conversion.  And they did.  We had to go back to work and by the time we finished the Giants had a 24-20 comeback win.  I wish I could have seen the entire game but at least I had a brush with greatness. 

Now for the rarest of rarities:  A taping non-foible!  Here it is in Jeff Mazzei’s own words.

Here’s my taping tale.  I opted to not tape any of the Thanksgiving games on the assumption that I’d hear or see the scores anyway, and I was getting back Sunday for the live games.  [Jeff was on vacation in Cape May, NJ]  I wound up seeing the 2nd half of the Dallas game which was real good.  I decided I’d just try to find the Jet highlights or read about it in Friday’s paper.  To this moment in time (Sunday), I have not been able to find out a thing about that game.  The taping gods mock me.

 This is the bitter irony that befalls the taper.  When you try to avoid the score you end up playing a gig with the quarterbacks’ cousin , but when you really want a score it is nowhere to be found.  Good day.

Posted in football, jazz | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »