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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Baltimore Ravens win 16-13 against the San Diego Chargers


The Baltimore Ravens defeated the San Diego Charges with a field goal in overtime 16-13. That game was probably one of the most exceptional games I have seen, especially the run by Baltimore Ravens #27 Ray Rice had. 29 yards on 4th down and he got it by about a foot. It was good, smart thinking on Joe Flacco’s part. He set the field up to throw a Hail Mary and instead threw underneath to Rice. Flacco had his Receivers go deep with 8 of the Chargers defensive players. The Chargers were prepared for the Hail Mary pass… everyone was expecting a Hail Mary pass. So, when Joe threw a short pass to Ray Rice, the Chargers were taken off guard and had to hustle. It was lucky play, but it was also a talent showcase. Flacco made the right call, Rice had the right moves, and the offensive line was able to block. I think this play is going down in Ravens history as one of the greatest plays. It won them the game, no question about it.

It’s hard to say the Chargers made a bad play. They had every reason to believe Flacco would go for the Hail Mary. With 29 yards for a 1st on the 4th down, to think it could be done as a short running pass would have seemed incredibly unlikely. They did the right thing preparing for the Hail Mary. The credit really has to go to the Ravens on this one. That play had everything and it kept their drive alive. It was a game changer.

There were so many big plays at the end of that game. The beginning was so lack luster that going into the half, I think most of Baltimore was feeling glum. Both teams had been playing cat and mouse. I know I was in doubt. I thought “oh, here we go again…”. The Ravens are always so hot or so cold. In the first half, they were cold as a fish in the freezer. They made no big plays and they capitalized on nothing. They had no points on the board. Something happened during half time. My guess is Coach Harbaugh must have been pretty upset and had some choice words with the team. He would have told them that they all needed to adjust and act like a team… and that’s what we saw in the second half.

Winning any football game is a team effort. If we’d only seen that big play from Ray Rice, the Ravens wouldn’t have won. There was also the fantastic reception by Torrey Smith in over time getting the Ravens into field goal range and of course Tucker getting the ball between the uprights. The defense stepped up and stopped the Chargers from scoring in overtime. It was a great game. I think that in the end they came together as a team and that’s what you have to do in the NFL. These guys are thinking that way right now. With the possibility of Ray Lewis coming back within a week or two weeks along with the team we saw Sunday in the second half, their credibility for their drive to the championship in strong.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Baltimore Ravens at San Diego Chargers


The Ravens can not walk into this game in San Diego like it's going to be easy. Rivers is a hell of a quarterback and the San Diego Chargers have the potential to really put it to the Baltimore Ravens. Something people don’t understand is traveling across country really takes a lot out of you. So it’s going to take a good job of coaching and it’s really going to require the offense and defense to step up. Rivers can drill that ball. The defense has to put a good rush on him and get him flustered a bit. That way he’ll start putting it in the air giving the Ravens the chance to pick a few off. We’re already without Ray Lewis and Ladarius Webb, it’s a good thing the Ravens will not be without Ed Reed. I think if we can get past this one we will get to the play offs no matter what. However, right after this game we’re right back here Baltimore against the Steelers again. Is Roethlisberger going to be ready? I don’t think so. Plus, we’re undefeated at home. We have everything to really be excited about. I know that John Harbaugh will have this team focused and that’s the key. You have to pay attention to each game one at a time. The Ravens can’t be focused on Pittsburgh next week. They have to treat every game like it’s the most important game of their lives. I really think the focus will be there. I think we have a lot of real leadership on the field. Matt Burke, Flacco, and Ray Lewis are all firing these guys up. Haloti Ngata is going to be better this week too. The Ravens have to be sure they’re 100% ready for this game.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Football is Where I Belonged.


I grew up in Cleveland and my dad played professional hockey for the Cleveland Barons. He had broke into the league with the Detroit Red Wings, played for Chicago Black Hawks, Played for St. Louis flyers, then got traded over to the Pittsburgh hornets where he met my mother. He and my mother got married and I was born. They moved to Cleveland and I grew up watching him play as the Cleveland Barons. I started skating when I was 3 years old. He really worked with me in hockey. Growing up, I was playing in all the hockey leagues. I played hockey all the way up to age 17. I even played Hockey in high school. However, I moved from the inner city of Cleveland to the suburbs of Cleveland. All the guys I got to know were all playing football and I had never played football at all. I asked my dad if I could play and he said no. He told me I should just stick to hockey, I was better off. My mother secretly signed me up. On my first game, my mom brought him to watch me play. He was very agitated and asked what I was doing playing football. My mother told him that I really wanted to play so she signed me up. He said “it’s a stupid game.” First play I get clipped, it shattered my knee. The doctor told me I could never play sports again. I had to have two knee surgeries from that shatter. My father didn’t talk to me for three months after that.

 In 10th grade, I kept working. I ran track, I did a lot of swimming, and I spent a lot of time ice skating. I was sort of a jack of all trades athlete. I was really good at all of them but I wasn’t great at anything. I continued to work out, built my leg and knee back up, did a lot of leg weight lifting and running. Ice skating was really great for my legs. I went out for the football team in 10th grade and I wasn’t even a starter. Same with 11th grade. I finally made top grade in my senior year.  I was 6 foot 185lbs and I could run pretty fast. We got a new coach that year, a guy named Leo Strang. He took our team and made them a powerhouse. He really helped me. I averaged 10.9 yards per carry that whole year. I lead the state in scoring. I had scholarships basically any place I wanted to go.

I really enjoyed everything about football. Hockey was fun too, but my real passion was in football and that’s the way I went. Despite the injuries and the health problems resulting from my days as a pro-footballer, I wouldn’t change it for anything. I guess that’s a big part of the reason I’m putting so much effort into the Keepr. It’s my chance to give back to my fellow NFL players through the player care foundation and my chance to relive the good times.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!


I am have a fun day planned today for Thankgiving! This morning I’m up bright and early, I have to be down at M&T bank stadium really early. Scott Garceau and I are broadcasting the Turkey Bowl which is a football game between Loyola High School and Calvert Hall High School. It’s been a tradition here in Baltimore. It’s been going on for so long I can’t tell you how many years. Scott and I have been doing it for 10-12 years now. It’s just a fun time to see on Thanksgiving Day. It brings everyone out and everyone is in a great mood. We enjoy watching the game and then we all leave and go home to delicious Turkey dinners.

My family will be here for dinner. My daughter, my grandson, my nieces and their families, we will have about 8 or 10 people at our table. We will sit around the table and lie about how great we used to be. We’ll have a real nice time.

This Saturday, the fun will continue because I have friends coming over to watch the Ohio State- Michigan game. One of my best friends, Ricky Volk who played at Michigan and played for the Colts with me, will be coming over. It’s a $10 bet and no points. I have been winning the last 5-6 years and he’s a little frustrated with it. I think Michigan has a great team and Ohio State is 11-0 right now. Irving Myers who’s the new coach there has done a great job getting these kids refocused after the tough year least year.

Thanksgiving is a time for Family. My wife is cooking dinner and she’s a fantastic cook. Family is really important to my wife and I and we cherish these times because we don’t have many left.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO MY FANS AND READERS

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Wonderful World of Broadcasting


I used to broadcast. I worked for CBS with Bob Costas. I was up in New York with the head of CBS Barry Frank, who was head of CBS sports at the time. He said “you’re a pretty good golfer, can you broadcast?” I told him I would love an opportunity in broadcasting and he gave it to me. The first guy I worked with was Bob Costas. Bob Costas was a young kid at that time and never had paper in front of him. He had total recall on everything. He was fantastic. Our first broadcast game was the St. Louis Cardinals against the Green Bay Packers. The game was absolutely terrible! They made a lot of mistakes. It was the first pre-season game and they looked like a bunch of amateurs. Everything that could go wrong in a pre-season game, did go wrong. Bob Costas and I tried to make light of the conversation. I started telling stories and he was able to ask the right questions to make the game into something the listeners would enjoy hearing

I was also given a chance to broadcast for the Ravens when they were brought to Baltimore. I was great friends with Art Modell. The first time I met Art Modell, because I grew up in Cleveland Ohio, is when he took over the Browns in 1961. He had bought the Browns from Paul Brown when Paul went to Cincinnati. It was in my rookie season and in the first game I played, I crushed two vertebrae in my neck. I was placed on injured waiver. Back in those days that made you a free agent. So, Art Modell called me to Cleveland. He wanted to have x-rays taken to see if I was alright. The doctors decided I would be fine, so Art said he would like to sign me in Cleveland. He made me an offer that would have increased my salary by 30%. I went back to the Baltimore Colts’ general manager and told him I wanted to go to Cleveland because they were offering me more money and it was my hometown, I wanted to go back there. He told me “Tom, whatever they offered you, we will match it.” So, I got a 30% raise thanks to Art Modell. In later years, when he came to Baltimore for Preakness or other like events, I always had Art Modell come to my radio show. Art and I just hit it off. I was in attendance at his wedding. He was just the nicest guy in the world, everyone loved him. He was a great philanthropist. When he finally decided to come to Baltimore with the Browns, I fixed up memorial stadium and put down a brand new field for him. That field was voted the best field in the football league at the time. He was grateful for all the work I’d done and in return, he got me a job in broadcasting for the Ravens. For the year we went to the Super Bowl, he gave me and Scott Garceau Super Bowl rings. He was a real gentleman and people don’t give him credit. He deserves to be in the hall of fame.

I had a great time broadcasting with Scott Garceau for the Baltimore Ravens. The year that the Ravens drove for the Super bowl one of my fondest memories. Dilfer was the quarterback at the time. Although, Dilfer was a mediocre quarterback, he didn’t make any mistakes. He was very conservative. He always kept us in the game and the defense would make the big plays. It was just a fun drive. It was great watching the progression of the Ravens into the Super Bowl. It was just a fun time for everybody. I had a great time broadcasting and Scott Garceau is my best friend. It was like broadcasting with a brother.

Sadly, all good things come to an end. When BAL came around, they got the rights away from CBS radio. After 10 years, the Ravens got a better deal and changed stations and that was the end of Scott Garceau and I broadcasting for the Baltimore Ravens.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Week 11 Ravens vs. Steelers Recap


This past Sunday was week 11 in the 2012 NFL season. We saw a lot of good games this Sunday but the number 1 rivalry in the NFL is still on everyone’s minds. The Ravens-Steelers game was a serious knock down and sock ‘em type of football game. The Ravens knew they were going up against the best defense in the NFL, the Pittsburgh Steelers, and they knew it was going to be an intense battle. I was really happy to see our offensive line step up.  They did a really good job. Plus, our defense really came around and shut down the Pittsburgh players. Roethlisberger being gone really helped us out. However, going up against the toughest defense in the league and being able to come out on top was something I found to be very impressive. I think John Harbaugh did a good job coaching that game. It was no doubt a tough fought game, but those are the games you HAVE to win. Some have said that the Ravens victory was a result of the Steelers being without Roethlisberger and I say it could be a true statement.  However, in football, you play one game at a time and the objective is always to win that game. Don’t worry about the previous games or your future games. Focus on the game at hand The Ravens did that and they won the game. Now, next time we play the Steelers, I don’t know if that’s going to happen again. It’s going to be a flip of the coin, because I still think Pittsburgh is one of the best teams in the national football league. We definitely have the capabilities, but we’ve also had some very serious injuries. We have overcome these setbacks so far and we’ve picked up some players who’ve really helped us out. On top of that, our special teams have played superb and our defense really stepped up their game. The game was close and I give credit to the coaches of both teams because they really did a phenomenal job.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Q&A Session on Reddit.com

For the benefit of my readers who are not aware of Reddit, I am posting the questions and answers table (created by Reddit) from my AMA/ IAmA  here. Feel free to leave any comments in the comments section of my blog.

Questions
Answers
Mhmm Yes. No other comment.
It was a challenge, being a running back and last man standing as a player that had any experience at QB in college. I was sort of forced into and didn't have a any choice. it was the biggest challenge for me in my football career.
Probably Ray Rice. I think he is the most versatile running back in the league, but there are a lot of RB's that are similar. I really like the kid.
Adrian Peterson, the way he came back from knee surgery is impressive.
That upsets me. When I go to the hall of fame, and see my wrist band and I am called an Indianapolis colt...That is not right. That part belongs to Baltimore.
Yes, today's running backs are bigger, stronger, and faster...but the guys from back in the day would still be competitive.
1 horse sized duck.
Yes I think he will be considered Elite sometime in the future. He (Joe) is an non emotional player, he started every game in his career and has a great arm. I have all the respect for him as player and a person.
My allegiance is to the city of Baltimore and their fans. Being a broadcaster for the Ravens for the first 10 or so years, solidified my position. Art Modell was a great friend.
Joe had a big mouth, and he still does. On that day, Joe didn't win that game...I have to give credit to Weeb Ewbank for great coaching. Namath had nothing to lose by saying what he did, they were underdogs. But that game solidified the NFL merger, and also gave credit to the AFL.
I feel that the NFL has made a concerted effort in improving the helmets and equipment these days to make the game safer, as opposed to my days. Commissioner Goodell is a making a really big effort to improve the safety in the NFL, and that will filter down to the peewee leagues.
When the NFL Films came out with 10 most versatile players that have ever played in the NFL, and I ended up at number 10.
We are told to keep our act clean, but there was many time I wanted to say, "he knocked the shit out of him!"
Good question. I had the opportunity to play in France back in 71, to introduce France to American Football. It was very well received and the players association did that. It was for the purpose of raising money for the AMerican hospital in Paris, it was very well received and today the NFL is playing games England, and I think they are sending teams during preseason to play in other european countries. Soccer is their sport, but I think they like the aggresiveness of American football. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if the NFL would expand to other countries.
You could say that, I've had 20 different surgeries, not all related to football. Mostly to the knees, ankles and just your Back is screwed up. You learn how to live with it however.
I think it was this game, where I had a pass over the middle and I knew was going to get slammed. I think it was Butkus, the ball popped out and I landed on the ground, but the ball landed back in my lap.
They are both good, and Simms particularly has good insight as he is a former QB. I miss my color commentary too. They changed radio stations, and Scott Garceau and I lost out.
Jim Brown was probably the best overall Rb that I have ever seen. Power, and speed he had it all, but he wasn't the greatest receiver. THe most versatile of RB's in my day was probably Lenny moore.
Another good question. Defensive players have limitation now that they didn't back then. The league has made it more of a offensive game. Offensive lineman are allowed to hold more, and bump coverage is called as illegal contact a lot more.
No they don't work harder any harder then we did. I'm upset with my mother for having 40 years too early. I would love to have made the amount of money that these kids are making today.
I'm trying to promote the retired players with the NFL Keepr Card because the revenues go towards the player care foundation to take care of the older guys like me.
The baltimore colts probably had the biggest impact in the making of the NFL, in the merger between the AFL and the NFL. The 58 championship game really put NFL as a premier sport in the country, and the 68 superbowl which we lost to the Jets made the merger the possible, and eminently the success of the two leagues joining together.
I think the game is same. The only change is that the athletes of today are bigger, stronger, and faster because of the conditioning that they go through. It's a full time job now to be a football player. Back in my day, as soon as the season was over...I had a another job to go to in Black & Decker.
Ohh Yea, I worked in a sales position and did a lot of traveling. Also helped design some of the tools that helped on moon mission.
His best attribute was the 2 minute offense, he could move the team faster down the field better than the other qb's in the league, In my opinion.
Jax Jags because it's nice and warm.
At the end of my career, the NFL pension people told us our life expectancy was 54-56 years of age. I then took my pension earlier because I thought my life expectancy was short, and I wish I didn't do that.
I have seen my friends die a lot earlier then I would have wished
HAHAHAHA. We were happy to get rid of Bob Irsay. It took us a while to convince Art Modell to move the Browns to Baltimore. And I was particularly happy because I got to the commentary for the Ravens.
Edit: I'm sorry for all the enemies I have made in Cleveland now, but Art was my friend, and I stand by him.
I knew he was broke and that’s why he came to Baltimore. Our city made an offer that saved his franchise.
Cleveland is my home town, and I grew up playing HS ball there and went to Ohio State to play college ball. The city of Cleveland did not respond to the needs of Art Modell, the Cleveland stadium was in dire need and the city didn't respond to Modell.
What we did as players was we were the makers of the game and also brought about the popularity of the game. Today's players are the benefactors of that.
Eddie George was a buck-eye, and a good one. My favorite would probably was Hugh Edward McElhenny.
Our locker room had a bit of fun also. Everyone would play pranks on each other. I didn't like snakes, and every day they would put a snake in my locker to scare me. One time I shot a rabbit and put it on top of pipes in the locker room. And one of the players was tying his shoes when it fell on him, I fell down laughing.
I think Chris is pretty objective, he knows the game and I feel he does a pretty good job. I'm sorry you feel that way.
You could maintain a personal life with friends, that are not football guys. But there is always the camaraderie with the you teammates, especially during Training Camp. Camp was the part when all you did was eat/breathe and live football.
My wife is one of the biggest fans of me. She watches film and listens to sports radio more than me. I think she was part of the team just as much as me.
Garceau and I will be broadcasting the turkey bowl on thanksgiving morning, and it's a lot of fun to see the kids play. I always felt that if you play for a team in that city, you have a responsibility to give back to that community.
Bo Schembechler was the coach that I reported to under Hayes. Bo was a good friend, all through my professional career and he left to Miami of Ohio, and convinced my brother, Bruce to play there, Where he became an all American QB.
Bo, always a class act. From Miami he went to Michigan and it became one of the biggest rivalries.
Pittsburgh Steelers was the ugliest, especially the Bumble-bees. The Los Angles Rams helmets were really cool. I was a big Browns fan, so I'm attached to those uniforms.
I grew up in Cleveland, so I never had a chance to meet him before playing the Colts.
I made the Eagle Scout, Hall of Fame. It played a very important role in my life. The two things that made me who I am are the Boy Scouts, and the YMCA. Being in downtown Cleveland (ghetto) they were very helpful for me.
Dick Butkus.
I'm a little biased towards Unitas, but I have a great deal of respect for Peyton.
Eli's not that bad, but he's in a whole different class. Also Archie is a friend of mine.
Woody was a tough coach to play for. He expected a great deal out of you, but he made sure he took care of his athletes and got them degrees. I was fortunate to have him as a coach, I became a bigger friend of his after leaving Ohio state.
Earl Morral did not see Jimmy standing in the endzone waving his arms. He said Jimmy's uniform blended in with the Bands unifrom. He threw it short and it was intercepted.
WE had a number of ties back in the day. I think the playoff rules are pretty good, and I don't think it matters too much during regular season.
Yes I do, working with Garceau, one of my best friends, has always been fun and challenging. We worked with together over 20 some years.
I think commissioner Goodell and his senior adviser Joe Browne have done a tremendous job on focusing on the injury, and equipment issues.
Shula was intense, very knowledge about the game, also well respected. Don and I became very good friends while I was a player for him, and I am still in contact with him now.
If I wouldn't have been drafted, I had majored in real estate. I most likely would have been a real estate marketeer or something else. You always have to fall back on your education, if you play sports.
When I played in the pro bowl, winning was important. What they are doing now is going through the motions, and making sure that no one gets hurt. I just think that they ought drop the probowl, and just vote the players in.
Both my son and grandson are really into technology, and I am the dinosaur in the family...and this is all a new experience for me.
The program I am doing now to help the player association using the NFL keepr is my biggest accomplishment. I always felt that players need to give back to their communities, and I think I have done a lot of this.
I wanted to be drafted by the Cleveland Browns, because the was my hometown.
Gerry is a good friend of mine, and I know he has taken a lot of hits because of the name confusion. It's too bad that this transpired at Penn State, because Joe Paterno was a good friend of mine. But then again, you can't let these things happen and paterno should have retired.
But should do they be compensated? That's beyond me. I know that there is a lot of under the table stuff that happens, but I was happy with getting a full ride. Free Education was the compensation for me.
Tresell in my opinion is a great coach, but he was thrown under the bus. Theres rules and regulations and you have to pay the price for what you have done.
No. Ozzie is a great GM, and Belichick could have done it.
I don't think he was terrible, he managed and did what he had to do to win. He didn't make any big mistakes, and let the defense do the rest.
My rookie year I wore #27, and we traded for RC Owens and he wanted number 27. So I asked to 41, my college number.
I believe he didn't want to come here because of Bob Irsay. His son in INdianopolis is a much better owner than his father.
Playing QB was the biggest challenge and most fun.
Even after all of this, I wouldn't trade the experience of playing in the National Football League.
Flea Flicker. Reverses, anything that screws with the defense.