Dallas Cowboys, Mike Singletary, and What if

  Training Camp 2017 has already commenced for the Dallas Cowboys, and a circus is afoot as per usual. There have been ominous signs that running back Ezekiel Elliott may be subject to some sort of suspension resulting from an alleged domestic violence incident; the sudden (reported) release of Lucky Whitehead adds another layer to the carnival spectacle of Oxnard, California. The Cowboys have already positioned themselves with enough potential distractions that could derail this campaign before it is even started.

    This pattern of mediocrity has been systemic for the last 20 years, and it is becoming more apparent that the Owner/President, General Manager Jerry Jones has devolved into an enabler that has made athletes with questionable characters to be too comfortable with their foibles. Now, this is not a problem if his tendencies are offset by a head coach who genuinely can command respect within the locker room.

    Thus far, Jason Garrett has demonstrated the acumen of being the kind of head coach with neoteric qualities of the late Tom Landry. Unfortunately for Garrett, football observers doubt he has the autonomy necessary to be seen in the eyes of his players more than just a substitute teacher, which was the same fate of Barry Switzer, Chan Gailey, Dave Campo, and Wade Phillips.

    If the Dallas Cowboys’ season of promise ultimately falls short of reaching the game affixed with Roman Numerals as is typical, questions will surround Garrett once again about his ability to lead whether it is fair or not. Nevertheless, this process will result in fans of the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex becoming even more despondent.

    Jerry’s team does not necessarily need a head coach with the disposition of Generals “Black Jack” Pershing, Patton, or Eisenhower, but they can use a person whose bona fides of authority are unequivocal and are understood without needing any dissertations to prove that this is the case. An example of this kind of a modern autocrat is Mike Singletary.      

    Of course, some will contend that Singletary’s tenure as head coach of the San Francisco 49ers was anything but stellar. While that fact is true, one can perceive that he has learned a great deal from that experience and has prepared extensively for another opportunity if it presents itself. Besides, the National Football League has a lengthy history of accepting retreads countless times who had a better chance of capturing Bigfoot than hoisting the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Therefore, Singletary is due for another opportunity.

    The only way that a Singletary regime could prosper is by Jones showing a modicum of deference to him as he did with Bill Parcells and Jimmy Johnson. Singletary does not have a reputation of ridiculing ownership in the past, and it is doubtful he would do this with Jones. Nonetheless, respect is a double-sided phenomenon that should be explored by these two men if Garrett, unfortunately, falls on the proverbial sword.

Mercedes-Benz Stadium is a Masterpiece Environed by a Mess

On Thursday, June 29, 2017, 10 a.m. EDT, I had the pleasure of paying a visit to the shadows of the nearly completed Mercedes-Benz Stadium in downtown Atlanta. The elephantine edifice can be seen from miles away and appears to have its reputation corroborated for being one of the top tier palaces on the National Football League’s forthcoming season.

Unfortunately, some of the delays in the construction of the Atlanta Falcons’ new aerie have not made a smooth transition for the process of urban renewal with areas adjacent to the stadium. Depending upon which root you select to navigate through the heart of Atlanta, one could still observe the dolorous situation of homeless citizens residing in deplorable circumstances underneath overpasses and a myriad of derelict buildings that some would consider noisome to unsuspecting tourists.

         The optics and aesthetics of some buildings in proximity of Mercedes-Benz Stadium is tantamount to having the Taj Mahal planted in one of America’s most penurious enclaves. It seems as if the current state of these neighborhoods is at variance with the rosy estimates proposed to the NFL before the first excavation process commenced.

Of course, the nostrum of gentrification is not immediate. Atlanta will need some time in developing the community into the lavish confines that both the NFL and Atlanta Falcons envisage.

Nevertheless, many individuals have seen this plot before with the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field. The residents along Hank Aaron Boulevard were promised that happy days were here again after Turner Field was formed from the remnants of Centennial Olympic Stadium in 1996. A fable was presented to the community that the confluence of patricians and the Braves playing home games there would result in numerous employment/entrepreneurial opportunities for its neighbors as a result of bacchanalian activities of the patrons.

When some attempted to peddle merchandise in front of the stadium, the City of Atlanta occasionally would implement moratoriums on individuals imitating the Hustle Man character on Martin portrayed by Tracy Morgan due to safety concerns of some fans entering into the ballpark. Whether the issue was based upon public safety or lack of access to revenue from sales, the Atlanta Braves used the situation to their advantage by ultimately relocating up the road to Cobb County for the new and improved SunTrust Park where suitable restaurants, shops, lodging, and exclusive condominiums were already being constructed.

          Moreover, Atlanta is endeavoring to join the Super Bowl circuit along with New Orleans and Miami after the completion of Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Yes, the National Football League did award Atlanta the customary Super Bowl (LIII) in 2019 as a token reward for constructing this magnificent facility, but any thoughts of North Georgia being included in the revolving championship game schedule is presumptuous. At this point, Atlanta would achieve a coup d’état in order to be associated with Miami, New Orleans, and eventual return to the title game in Los Angeles; we are also in competition with occasional outliers such as Houston, Phoenix, and Tampa as well.

In conclusion, Atlanta’s propensity for the sudden inclement weather in early February (during my birthday) does not bode well for the city aspiring to be added to the Super Bowl rotation. Some fans still believe that the NFL has not forgiven Atlanta for a similar situation that occurred in late January of Super Bowl XXXIV, which is unsubstantiated. This metropolitan area can thrive if the community where Mercedes-Benz Stadium rests can be transformed completely; a Risorgimento of any kind could change the perspective of the residents and the city overall throughout the United States.

My Dad vs. Claude Humphrey & Basketball

From the Hoss Martin Archives

Note: My father passed away on Thursday, August 11, 2016

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Memphis, Tennessee was a bubbling caldron of tension that was spreading throughout the Southland. The efflorescence of the Civil Rights Era along with the general discontentment with the status quo was observed by many within the culture.

Perhaps, this was the setting of an incident when my father (a point guard) attempted to steal a basketball away from Claude Humphrey in what should have been a nondescript high school game between opponents. Things suddenly changed as my dad managed to grab hold of the ball possessed by the big man.

Humphrey apparently took exception to this effort and thought he was fouled. Since no foul was forthcoming, Humphrey decided to grab my dad and lifted him up above his head. My father became a bit choleric after this action decided to take the basketball and hit Humphrey on top of the head as an act of reprisal. A donnybrook between both teams ensued without any injuries in the end; my father was able to walk away to play another week as if nothing had happened, and Mr. Humphrey managed to develop a successful college and professional football career and receive a well-earned (and long overdue) induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Aside from this high school tommyrot old, basketball was a game that conflated speed, nimbleness, and physical prowess. The sport was in constant development for decades until it reached its zenith about a decade ago.

            Today, modern basketball (both college and pro) has somehow adapted the moribund Run and Shoot offense of the gridiron into a debased form of hoops by launching projectiles anywhere on the floor, while everyone and their mother run in the other direction for an offensive possession. In essence, traditional basketball has devolved into city park/playground basketball with nuanced differences.

For example, let us take a few moments to examine the contrasts of the following:

  • Both have compensation involved: one is taxable under labor laws with a check, the other is under the table with grifts
  • They both have female admirers along the baselines.
  • Both have spectators along the perimeter of the court
  • Both require security personnel: one has individuals donning yellow jackets, the other is of a law enforcement variety accompanied with a canine
  • They both require liquid refreshments; a few individuals elect to have a compotation for stronger beverages besides Gatorade or Powerade
  • Both require a bit of forensics after every foul or questionable call
  • One used nylon for nets; the other typically chains
  • Somewhere Bill Russell could think that he may have drifted into the Twilight Zone with the lack of rebounding and defense witnessed today.

 

Although the aforementioned list is by no means apodictic, it is an effort to bring levity to a situation that has made basketball less compelling than it once was. It seems as if players have an aversion to low post moves and dominance in the paint.

Now, I am by no means advocating the Malice in the Palace or pernicious acts more suited for barbarous mixed martial arts. It just would be nice to see something more gratifying than jump shots and dunks resulting from fast breaks as a result of these incessant long-range missiles. The big man is almost as obsolete as the Commodore VIC-20.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Golden State Warriors: Everyone Loves a Winner

  In 1970, the late John Facenda with his signature mellifluous voice provided one of his best narrations in his career with NFL Films. Near the conclusion of the Super Bowl IV highlight video of the Kansas City Chiefs versus Minnesota Vikings depicting one of Vikings’ cheerleaders in tears, Facenda said, “Defeat is a personal thing, but victory belongs to everyone.”

Last night, the Golden State Warriors secured their fifth World Championship with a 129-120 defeat of the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 5 of the 2017 NBA Finals. The nearly simultaneous aftermath of celebrations and a flurry of commentary on social media outlets were observed from the Bay Area to the Eastern United States.

The dubious reaction for a franchise that few seem to remember the impact of the great Rick Barry and Head Coach Al Attles in their championship in 1975 or the number of times Mark Curry pretended to play for the Warriors in the television situation comedy Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper during the nineties is a surprise. Nonetheless, young and old alike are enamored with the relatively affable personalities of Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, and Klay Thompson. The Warriors have become so much of a fan favorite that even one of my neighbors has a Golden State flag in front of their residence here in Metropolitan Atlanta.

 Unfortunately, some members of the media have mistakenly taken an impressive achievement by the Warriors and fell prey to unconscionable platitudes by claiming that Golden State’s dominance is the best thing for the National Basketball Association. Despite the rhetoric, the 2017 NBA Finals were anything but spectacular. The series was marred by nondescript games that became more of a soporific effect upon me than a thrill.

Of course, the Golden State Warriors cannot concern themselves with how their dominance may impact the NBA henceforth. Head Coach Steve Kerr and associates must continue to strive for excellence by preventing complacency of a juggernaut that should remain so for some time to come. The rest of the Western Conference, Cleveland Cavaliers, and the league must find creative ways to procure enough matériel to be able to compete with the Warriors in the foreseeable future.

In fairness, we should not make derisive statements against Golden State of today without considering the Boston Celtics from 1957-1969 who won 11 titles during that era. Boston was victorious almost every year without the NBA imploding.

The NBA will be okay with the preponderance of the Golden State Warriors, but many individuals question how the league will be perceived without the development of a nemesis who could at least make these almost perennial champions suffer hyperhidrosis. For the time being, GSW should be commended for their excellence because having the best athletes does not always guarantee championships. The 1968 Baltimore Colts were in a similar situation in the NFL and succumbed to the New York Jets in early 1969.  Selah

Hoss Martin’s Autobiography

 

My parents discovered my obsession with sports and broadcasting when I “borrowed” their cassette tape recorder in a feeble endeavor to imitate Detroit Pistons’ venerated sports commentator George Blaha back in the late seventies. Of course, they opted to keep that amateur “podcast” for years instead of erasing it in a bribery attempt to be used against me when I got out-of-line. Henceforth, I spent most of my time in barber shops promulgating the merits of why my favorite teams should perform better, but I usually attempted to take notes of signature moments in sports for later usage consequently. Although I attended and received my Bachelor of Science in Mass Media Communications from Oral Roberts University in 1996, I never really had an appropriate outlet for these reflections of previous and current sporting events. I was finally able to unleash over 35 years of hidden frustration when I met DJ Mike (http://djmikeshow.com/), who was the impetus behind the establishment of Sports Round-Up With Hoss Martin on November 23, 2010, under the aegis of Chris Mar Studios. So, please enjoy these postings of blog entries, statistics, and links contained on the website; just do not inquire my parents about that tape mentioned above. Contact: hossmartin@hossmartin.com

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