Posts Tagged ‘ESPN’

Where Jemele Hill Went Wrong

Friday, September 15th, 2017

by Gus Griffin







“Trump is the most ignorant, offensive president of my lifetime.”

“His rise is a direct result of white supremacy. Period.”

“He is unqualified and unfit to be president. He is not a leader. And if he were not white, he never would have been elected.”

“Donald Trump is a white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself w/ other white supremacists.”

“The height of white privilege is being able to ignore his white supremacy, because it’s of no threat to you.”

“Well, it’s a threat to me.”

“Donald Trump is a bigot. Glad you could live with voting for him. I couldn’t, because I cared about more than just myself.”

“I hate a lot of things but not enough to jeopardize my fellow citizens with an unfit, bigoted, incompetent moron. But hey, that’s just me.”

These are the tweets that landed ESPN commentator Jemele Hill into hot water.

Every last word is true!  

At the very least, it’s much easier to support what she says about the current president of the “Divided” States of America than it would be to refute them.  

And still yet often in America, truth is not the point! The denial of truth is.

Hill’s comments addressed the truth.  They did not address the denial of the truth, which is a prerequisite.  

It’s like trying to administer treatment or medicine to someone that does not acknowledge being sick.

I realize that this is a hard thing for truth loving people to stomach, especially those of us who are either more likely to be vulnerable to the adverse effects of the current president’s mindset and policies.  It is equally troubling for those who thought that they could find refuge from political commentary in sports.  

The point is that in America we have tacitly understood sacred cow subjects around which we are required to steer clear of under all circumstances, and race in sports is right at the top of that list.  

Full disclosure: Jemele Hill, along with Bomani Jones, Tim Kurkjian, and Jay Bilas, are my favorite ESPN commentators. Unlike Erin Andrews of Fox (throw a nickel out the window and you could hit 20 others who can do what Andrews does), she actually knows sports. She is insightful beyond sports, which is why she had to know that she was violating the code. What code you ask? The code that says as a sports commentator you are to, above all and foremost, insure that your white audience is comfortable with your commentary. Calling a man that more than a few of them voted for, a white supremacist, though absolutely true, is a violation of the code. One of the requirements to maintain a position such as the one Hill occupies is self-censorship.  

Now the other end of this is Jason Whitlock, who either consciously or subconsciously talks about race all the time, but in a way that placates the very element that is currently outraged about Hill’s comments.

As a result, his place in the mainstream sports media is secure.

I am not saying that she should not have said what she did. I am actually always happy to hear “insiders” rock the boat.  I am saying that when you do, understand that the pushback will be fierce and swift, and if one is not prepared to absorb such pushback without apologizing, why say it at all?  

My first degree from Howard University was in Journalism. My desire was to be what Hill is today, which is part of why I am a fan and have such great respect for her. I actually wrote for a Washington Black weekly paper upon graduating and was offered an internship with ABC News under Sam Donaldson. I turned it down and have no regrets. My thinking even then, over 20 years ago, was that to progress in such an environment would require I engage in the type of self-censorship that would have kept Hill out of the hot water she is currently in, and I knew that I simply could not adhere to “the code”.  

In the end, the issue is not Jemele Hill or even ESPN. The issue is the delusional notion that sports is some isolated haven, free of political commentary, or even that it should be. History proves this to be a fallacy.  Be it the influence of Jackie Robinson’s breaking the color line in baseball, or the civil rights movement, or Muhammad Ali’s stand against the Vietnam War, sports has always been a platform to address larger issues to include politics as well it should be. But until the contrary myth is debunked, the likes of Jemele Hill and others of her valuable consciousness have a decision to make: is it best to maintain her current platform and speak truth to power from within the existing mainstream system or leave it and all of its perks and restraints to do so from the outside?  Neither you nor I can make that decision for her. If she leaves on principle, I’ll miss her on ESPN but respect her decision.  If she remains, she will surely have to understand that the push-back she is receiving is indeed the price of the party.

Gus Griffin, for War Room Sports

The War Room Episode 312

Saturday, June 18th, 2016

Jun 16, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) stares at Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) in the fourth quarter in game six of the NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena. Cleveland won 115-101. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports



Check out the latest episode of #TheWarRoom (The Best Podcast Since Al Gore Invented The Internet), featuring JRSportBrief, on the #WarRoomSports Podcast Network!





Pocket Casts:

It’s almost here: Who will the Eagles take first in the draft?

Monday, April 27th, 2015

by Brandyn Campbell

Brandyn Blog





After five months of talk and speculation, the 2015 NFL draft is almost here. The intrigue surrounding Chip Kelly and the Philadelphia Eagles is at record levels. Have his series of bold moves this offseason all been part of a brilliant masternfl_draft plan to snag Oregon QB Marcus Mariota? Will all be revealed (and make sense) come Thursday night?

The stakes are as high as they’ve ever been for the Birds. It is the first draft where Kelly will fully wield power. After a disastrous selection of Marcus Smith in the first round last year, the Eagles have got to make a pick able to make a positive impact on the field this season. No room for excuses.

We know that Philadelphia has a number of areas of need that it must fill, safety and wide receiver chief among them. And we know that Kelly will say, as we’ve always heard from the Eagles, that the draft is about taking the best player available, not about addressing needs.

But still…we must mock. Mock draft, that is. The mock drafts don’t even wait until the NFL season ends these days, and the mock madness is at fever pitch in these final days leading up to the draft. They are never close to the reality that unfolds during the draft, but they are still worthy of discussion.

Many experts like Alabama SS Landon Collins for the Eagles. In fact, three of the eight experts on’s “Mock Draft Central” predict that he will be Philadelphia’s first round selection, with the 20th pick overall. In what is viewed as a weak safety class, Mike Mayock rates Collins as the second-best safety in the draft, behind Arizona State’s Damarious Randall.

But the Eagles themselves may be throwing shade at the prediction. When Eagles director of player personnel Ed Marynowitz spoke with the media last week, among a series of interesting comments he provided remarks on how he viewed Collins:

“He can do it, to a degree. I think all these guys have strengths and weaknesses. Landon has the potential to do that. Maybe not to the degree that some other guys do, but he certainly has the ability to do that.”

Certainly not a ringing endorsement.

ESPN draft experts Mel Kiper, Jr. and Todd McShay have the Eagles still addressing needs in the defensive backfield with their first-round pick, but at the cornerback position with the selection of Washington’s Marcus Peters. Of the pick, Kiper said:

“Marcus Peters, cornerback from Washington, is the pick at No. 20 for Philadelphia. Marcus Peters has an attitude and approach: physical. When you think about in press coverage there against [Jaelen] Strong. You think about a guy who can upgrade a secondary that desperately needs it, that defense. You can’t keep outscoring people. You need to start stopping people and containing people. […] He went up against some really good receivers in the PAC-12 and at the cornerback spot for Washington, he held up exceptionally well when he was challenged and put up to the test against those guys who are going to be in the NFL as high picks.”

If the Eagles went for a wideout with their top pick, names like Breshad Perriman from Central Florida and Phillip Dorsett from Miami have been mentioned as possibilities for the team. Mayock ranks Perriman as the fourth-best wideout of this year’s class, and doesn’t feature Dorsett in the top 5 of version 4.0 of his position rankings. Perriman’s elite combination of size, speed and explosiveness could be an enticing target for Kelly.

Dorsett is projected as a first or second rounder, with his average of 25 YPC getting teams’ attention. Does Kelly want to make his mark with his top pick in what is truly his first draft on a 5’10”, 185 lb receiver? I don’t see that happening.

Who do you want the Eagles to snag at the top? Hold on tight, ladies and gents, we’re going to get our answers soon.

Check out some Landon Collins highlights and decide if you think he’s the man for Birds:

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Brandyn Campbell of Philly Sports Muse, for War Room Sports

After Further Review (#643)

Monday, January 5th, 2015

by Christopher Dinkins

Christopher Dinkins Blog




After Further Review

)….RAVENS 30 STEELERS 17 (“full of sound and fury…signifying nothing”)…..COLTS 26 BENGALS 10 (“who dat ??..thats just my baby daddy”)…..COWBOYS 24 LIONS 20 (“you see what had happened was”))…….we will definitely discuss NFL WILDCARD WEEKEND on THE SPORTS HOUSE with SONNIE and CHRIS tonight…((7pm….TWBN….646-478-5337)) come thru and chop it up wit us !!!!!!!…….((NBA)) BUCKS 95(pachulia 16/14) KNICKS 82(hardaway 17)…..MAVERICKS 109(chandler 14) CAVALIERS 90(love 30/10)…..PISTONS 114(jennings 35) KINGS 95(cousins 18/15)…..HEAT 88(wade 25) NETS 84(williams 13)…..SUNS 125(bledsoe 20) RAPTORS 109(valanciunas 21/10)…..LAKERS 88(bryant 20) PACERS 87(sloan 16)…”dont playa hate…congratulate”…….((NCAAHOOPERY)) WISCONSIN 81(kaminsky 16/10) NORTHWESTERN 58(demps 17)…..LOUISVILLE 85(jones 22/10a) WAKE FOREST 76(thomas 31/11)……ARIZONA 73(hollis-jefferson 13) ARIZONA STATE 49(blakes 9)……UTAH 71(wright 11) UCLA 39(parker 12)…KANSAS 76(mason III 18) UNLV 61(doolin 12)…..”straight butta”…….ladies side….SOUTH CAROLINA 75(wilson 21/13) LSU 51(harden 9)…..CONNECTICUT 70(tuck 23) ST JOHNS 54(handford 20)……NOTRE DAME 85(loyd 25) SYRACUSE 74(henderson 19)…..TEXAS A&M 52(williams 18) ARKANSAS 50(jackson 18/10)……LOUISVILLE 63(schimmel 11) PITTSBURGH 57(kiesel 19)…..NORTH CAROLINA 72(mavunga 23/12) NORTH CAROLINA STATE 56(wilson 15)…..DUKE 70(williams 18) WAKE FOREST 63(hamby 11)……KENTUCKY 64(thompson 17) MISSISSIPPI 58(faleru 21/13)…..”yup yup”…..((MLB)) AFTER FURTHER REVIEW 2.0 gives HOF votes to PEDRO MARTINEZ….TIM RAINES…..RANDY JOHNSON sorta like a MONTREAL EXPOS thing…..((NHL)) HURRICANES 2 BRUINS 1(so)…..CAPITALS 4 PANTHERS 3….LIGHTNING 4 SENATORS 2…..BLUE JACKETS 4 AVALANCHE 3…..BLACKHAWKS 5 STARS 4(ot)…..DUCKS 4 PREDATORS 3(so)….OILERS 5 ISLANDERS 2…..”like gravy on a biscuit…its all good”….((NCAAF)) COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF CHAMPIONSHIP GAME—- OREGON v OHIO STATE —- (JANUARY 12 8pm/ESPN)…..who YOU got ????……wonder what OREGON,OH will change their name to ?????……NBA GAME of the day ROCKETS(23-10) v BULLS(24-10)……..NHL GAME of the day SHARKS(45pts) v JETS(47pts)…..”west side story-ish….booooo-yaaaah”……..TRUE SCHOOL JAM of the day “MANY RIVERS TO CROSS” -OLETA ADAMS……..dont forget to check out THE SPORTS HOUSE with SONNIE and CHRIS tonight……HAPPY NEW YEAR and lets chop it up some more in 2015….the BALLISTICS have been kicked !!!!!!!!!……AFR.


Christopher “The Mayor” Dinkins of the After Further Review Podcast, for War Room Sports

WATCH: Darren Sproles’ punt return for touchdown against Panthers

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

by Brandyn Campbell

Brandyn Blog





Cam. Woah Cam. The turf at the Linc is what Cam Newton will remember most from his trip to Philadelphia for Monday Night Football.

Cam. Woah Cam. The turf at the Linc is what Cam Newton will remember most from his trip to Philadelphia for Monday Night Football.

It was a game with many, many Philadelphia Eagles highlights, as the team extended its record to 7-2 with the 45-21 victory over the Carolina Panthers on Monday night. Blowout games tend to serve as highlight reels for the team doing the blowing out.

The Panthers, on the other hand, were so bad that you felt for them. You knew how awful quarterback Cam Newton must have felt after suffering sack after sack after sack by Eagles defenders, particularly LB Connor Barwin, who played like a man possessed with 3.5 sacks on Newton. Cam was sacked a total of 9 times in the game. Ouch. But he kept getting up, only to receive more punishment.

So many highlights from the Birds this game that it’s hard to pick one – there were the multiple, steady, and productive Mark Sanchez-to-Jordan Matthew’s connections that resulted in two touchdowns. For his part, Sanchez, in his first full game leading the Eagles offense, finished the game with an impressive 20 of 37 for 332 yards and two touchdowns.

Let’s go to an old favorite this season. RB Darren Sproles, the man so foolishly given up by the New Orleans Saints. He just won’t quit, and he has always delivered for this Eagles team.

The Eagles scored in all phases on Monday night – on offense, on defense, and on special teams. Watch Sproles deliver a 65-yard punt return for a touchdown, his second TD of the game – all while still in the first quarter.


Follow Philly Sports Muse on Twitter and Facebook


Brandyn Campbell of Philly Sports Muse, for War Room Sports

“We Could Be King” Coach Ed Dunn to Visit The War Room!

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

We Could Be King


Martin Luther King Jr. High School (Philadelphia, PA) football coach Ed Dunn will be in The War Room this Thursday, May 22nd, to discuss the importance of youth and scholastic sports in America!  Coach Dunn was recently featured in the ESPN/Dick’s Sporting Goods documentary “We Could Be King”, which received rave reviews at the renowned Tribeca Film Festival.

Tune in Thursday, May 22nd at 6pm ET to hear our conversation with Coach Dunn!  To tune in, go to and click the “Listen Live” button…or dial 323-410-0012 to listen LIVE by phone.

In the meantime, check your local listings and “On-Demand” for additional showings of “We Could Be King” and check out this New York Times article about the documentary HERE.

While you’re at it, you should also join the War Room Sports Facebook page at and follow us on Twitter @WarRoomSports!

Finally, if you own an Android phone or tablet…an I-Phone, I-Pad, or I-Pod, please go to your Google Play and/or App Store and download the FREE War Room Sports mobile app (just search “War Room Sports”)!  It’s the VERY BEST way to stay up on all of our media content from one central location!

Questions about the Philadelphia Eagles season begin getting answers tonight

Monday, September 9th, 2013

by Brandyn Campbell

Brandyn Blog






Philadelphia Eagles football is back. It’s a celebration!

Philadelphia Eagles football is back. It’s a celebration!

It’s finally here. Game day for the Philadelphia Eagles. It’s like Christmas in September.

It’s a great matchup to launch the season’s Monday night games. Chip Kelly’s NFL debut versus the unveiling of Robert Griffin III following 8 months of rehab. Is he truly healthy? Who will prevail?

The innumerable questions about the Birds from the offseason finally begin to get answered tonight. How will Kelly’s offense transition to the NFL? Will the transition to a 3-4 defense serve to address some of the challenges the D has had the past several seasons?

Both the Eagles and Redskins had the other’s number last season when playing with a healthy starting quarterback. Will Mike Vick and RG3 make the difference this game or will Philadelphia need to rely on the yet-to-be proven defense?

Both team’s defenses will face significant threats from the air and the ground. LeSean McCoy remains one of the most significant weapons on offense in Philadelphia’s arsenal. And Washington has the talents of 2nd year breakout Alfred Morris.

One of the biggest questions that remains for the Birds is how Philadelphia’s secondary–underwhelming in 2012 and the 2013 preseason–will perform. Is the unit still a work in progress or will they begin to make a turnaround?

To be sure, one game won’t answer every question definitively. But it’s a start, and closer than we’ve ever been before.

A new era begins today in Philadelphia Eagles football. That’s no small fact. A new coach, new players, new philosophy.

Let’s get this party started.

Follow Philly Sports Muse on Twitter at @sports_muse and on Facebook.

Brandyn Campbell of Philly Sports Muse, for War Room Sports

Who is Bernard King?: The NBA’s Invisible Genius

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

by Chuck Modiano

G – Magic 
G – Isiah
F – Larry
F – Bernard
C – Kareem/Moses

No last names are necessary.

These men make up the 1st team All-NBA stars in Bernard King’s last two Knick seasons before he blew out his knee in March 1985 – the same year he led the NBA in scoring. This is the company King kept.

In 1984, King would produce a half-season scoring tear never duplicated in NBA history; upset the Pistons in the greatest playoff series performance in NBA history, and almost single-handedly upend the 1984 Celtics — one of greatest teams in NBA history.  In 1984, Bernard could be found in dated Converse commercials, rap songs, and Sports Illustrated covers which bowed to “His Royal Highness”.

With an unstoppable Carmelo Anthony balling like its 1984, and reports of Bernard’s induction into the Naismith Hall of Fame, The Invisible King will receive another bow this week.

While starving King fans will naturally celebrate, something just isn’t right. King’s 15 minutes of crumbs come too little, too late – 15 years to be exact.

We could only hope this week will help jump-start the only real NBA debate. Bernard’s rightful place in the Hall of Legends.

Where did The King stand amongst the greats? Let’s ask them

“Bernard King was the toughest matchup of my career. And I say that from the heart.” – Julius Erving [HOF 1993]

“Bernard King… is the best forward in the league, hands down”.  – Larry Bird [HOF 1998]

“We are just in awe of Bernard” — Isiah Thomas [HOF 2000].

Now consider that Larry and Isiah’s praise came before the 1984 playoffs and epic Showdown in Motown where


No other player in NBA history has ever averaged over 40 playoff points on 60% shooting in the playoffs – not Wilt in ‘62, not Jerry in ‘65, and not Michael in ‘88.  Not Kareem, Shaq, Kobe, or Lebron.

Only Bernard King.

King also did it while battling Isiah, the flu, and mangled hands.

Afterwards, King was asked about his “hot streak”. Bernard asked back:

“At what point is it no longer considered just a roll?”

Answer: The rest of your life Bernard. The rest of your life.

King’s perceived eruption on a national stage was no hot streak.

What happened right before it was even more historic, but never documented until now:


Lebron and Carmelo, please read that again.

No other player in NBA history has likely ever matched this half-season stretch [2].

In the playoffs, the unstoppable King simply took more shots. That’s all.

For the few mesmerized souls who watched those games on WWOR Channel 9, King’s “30@60for40” validates that we aren’t suffering from nostalgia gone wild.

Bernard King was who we thought he was.

Unlike Knick legends Patrick Ewing, Walt Frazier, and Willis Reed, no one more than Bernard transforms grown Knick fans into babbling children, gets stuffy 50 year old accountants to jump around like Spike Lee, and elicits reactions of: “I swear I saw Jesus in shorts”. No, not “Black Jesus” ala Earl Monroe’s other nickname — just “Jesus”.

Truth be told, here is what many Knick fans in bars swear to this very day: at his pre-injury peak Bernard King was a better small forward than Larry Bird and a greater scorer than Michael Jordan.

If that sounds crazy to you, please consult his peers again:

“I have never feared anybody that I’ve played against – Bird, Magic, Doctor, Michael – and I respect and love all of those guys… Bernard King is the only guy that ever scared the hell out of me.”  – Dominique Wilkins [HOF 2006]:

Listen to Dominique. Few in media will publically utter such words for fear of ridicule or straight-jacket. But we are not the crazy ones.

It is the rest of the sports universe that has gone insane.

Unless long dead, there is no other athlete in any sport whose gap between greatness and recognition is larger — even after this week.

The humiliations are endless.

Will Bernard make the Hall of Fame this year? Should King have made the NBA’s 50 greatest players list? Will the Knicks finally retire his iconic #30 jersey?

The questions themselves demean NBA history. What about media?

In February, Lebron had six straight games of 30 points on 60% shooting, and lost their efficient minds, but no mention of King. Last year ESPN issued its 25 greatest playoff performances since 1978, and no King again. Sorry B, your 42 @60% and legendary Game 5 just weren’t dominant enough.

In 1984, The New York Times closely chronicled King’s nuanced brilliance in “Mysterious Moves” and “Never a Knick Like Him””, but on the 25th anniversary of that magical season, another small forward stole the show with a 10,000 word profile: Shane Battier:  “The No-Stats All-Star”.

What about the greatest player in Tennessee history, half of the famed Bernie and Ernie Show, and legendary Kentucky killer? When Kentucky coach John Calipari told his 2010 team that Bernard was talking pre-game trash in Tennessee’s locker room, the youngsters responded:

“Who is Bernard King?”, ”What number is Bernard King?”, and  “I’m guarding him?”


How did we get here?

Is there some vast hide-King conspiracy? Not quite, but corporate interests have reduced the NBA’s Golden Era to “Magic vs. Bird”, and lesser victims include Kareem, Julius, Moses, Isiah, and the great small forward of the 1980’s.

Bernard’s knee injury alone doesn’t explain it either. No one adds up career stats for Sandy Koufax, Gale Sayers, Earl Campbell, or Bill Walton. We know what happened to them.

Reasons for King’s vanishing includes playoff-lore hijackings by Isiah, Larry, and Michael [see II: Genius Unchained]; his unspectacular style, his early-career substance abuse, his forgotten Warrior years, his teammates, and his plodding coach Hubie Brown [see III. Genius Contained].

It also involves a dysfunctional Hall of Fame and sports media largely incapable of recognizing historic greatness without historic teammates. Despite being voted Most Valuable Player by their peers, King (1984), young Michael (1989), and Lebron (2006) were all denied those awards by media, and had their status as “winners” questioned. Where players see lack of support, media perceives lack of maturity, but only a lack of imagination could deny King as champion beside Patrick Ewing [see V: The King of Peers].

King’s past has been forgotten, a healthy future rarely imagined, but most of all, his present genius was never fully realized too far beyond his own peers, local fans, and a few journalists [3].

Bernard’s game was historically unique, but he often gets lumped into a sea of history’s high-volume scoring forwards. While The Tennessee Terror stormed on the NCAA scene with 42 points in his very first game as a freshman, his truer legacy can be found in his nation-leading 62% shooting.

Lebron James is receiving great credit for shooting 56% this year, but King shot 56% over a 5-year pre-injury prime (1980-85) and did it without any all-star teammates. The playoffs are where shooting percentages go to die (see Karl Malone), but King shot a stunning 58% in 18 Knick playoff games. Only the greatest ones maintain accuracy against playoff defense — our very best test for “unstoppability” across eras.

King also defied every selfish scorer stereotype. He was not a one on one player, never needed isolations, never took bad shots, and did it all within the game’s flow. He was a scoring scientist whose quick release, midrange mastery, and disciplined shot selection have gone the way of Kareem’s skyhook [see IV: Genius Explained].

King also suffered from a pre-Jordan era where it was thought impossible to score like Mike, but win like Magic. If Jordan is any indication, Bernard was too unselfish. Jordan had more athleticism, style, and shot attempts, but not accuracy [see VI: The Jordan Rules].

Today, Bernard is mostly remembered for his 60 points on Christmas Day, and scoring 50 points on back-to back nights in 1984. Mr. Hot Streak has now become Mr. Hot Game, and The King of Efficiency has been largely reduced to Jamal Crawford – a career 41% chucker.

Before Lebron’s February outburst, the last great scoring streak came from Kobe Bryant in 2004. Back then, Scoop Jackson tried to educate the youth when he asked the obvious:

“What’s up with the love? [Bernard] had scoring stretches that lasted seasons, not just games.”

Jackson continued:

“He was a genius interrupted… The universal love that evaded his career was found scrolled inside a book penned by his peers.”

Jackson’s question was ignored, so a decade later the kids want to know:

“Who is Bernard King?”

Have a seat son and move over Mr. Battier, King’s invisible genius must be explained.

II.   Genius Unchained: Bernard King vs. Isiah and Larry (coming Tuesday)
III.  Genius Contained: Bernard King vs. Hubie (coming Wednesday)
IV.   Genius Explained: Bernard King vs. Youtube (coming Thursday)
V.     The King of Peers: Bernard King vs. Media (coming next Monday)
VI.   The Jordan Rules: Bernard King vs. Michael (coming next Tuesday)

Or you can always just ask his peers:

Man, Bernard King, he was the truth.”  — Bob McAdoo [HOF 2003]


Chuck Modiano od, for War Room Sports

[1] Beginning on January 14, King scored 1219 points (482-808) over the next three months spanning 40 regular season games (ending right before regular season’s final meaningless game before the playoffs)

[2] It is highly unlikely that King’s 40 games of 30 points on 60% shooting has been duplicated – even when factoring eFG. The highest FG% for a 30 PPG season is Kareem Abdul Jabbar who scored 32 points on .577 shooting in 70-71 and an incredible 35 points on .574 shooting in ’71-’72. Adrian Dantley also scored 30.3 points on 57% shooting in ’81-’82.

[3] Many journalists have helped keep King’s memory alive. Special thanks to Ira BerkowDennis D’Agostino, Bobbito Garcia and Ali, Alan Hahn, John Hareas, Scoop Jackson, Bruce JenkinsBill Simmons, Dave Zirin, and others.

The Ron Jaworski Interview: Why Chip Kelly Will be a Success in the NFL and Why the Philadelphia Eagles Need Mike Vick

Monday, February 25th, 2013

by Brandyn Campbell







Former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback and ESPN NFL analyst Ron Jaworski is a man who needs no introduction in the City of Philadelphia. But alas, I’ll give it a try.

Jaws, as he is otherwise known, remains one of the most popular sports figures in Philly sports history.  His place in Eagles lore was solidified when he took the 1980 team to Super Bowl XV and was named NFL MVP that year.  He remains active in the area’s sports scene as president and part-owner of the Philadelphia Soul.

Jaworski is a popular fixture on ESPN due to his analysis and insights revealed through hours of film study as well as his affable personality, all of which contributed to Jaws’ role as a commentator on Monday Night Football for five seasons.

Jaws joined me as well as Roy Burton and Kris Domingo of the Broad Street Line podcast to talk Eagles quarterbacks, Chip Kelly, his famous nickname and its connection with the Philadelphia Sixers and an exciting announcement about the Philadelphia Soul.  You’ll also find out the new project that has Jaws feeling like a 31-year old again.

QUESTION:  The Philadelphia Eagles are in the midst of a lot of transition, with Chip Kelly being the first new head coach in 14 seasons. We’ve had a chance to hear from Kelly briefly, but obviously there are so many questions about what he’s planning to do. What qualities make you believe that he can succeed as a head coach in the NFL, and specifically with the Eagles?

Jaws:  First and foremost, Chip Kelly has tremendous football IQ. He understands the game, and he comes from an offensive persuasion. I think in today’s NFL it’s so important that you have your offense in place. It’s a quarterback’s game. The quarterback is the most important player on the team. He is the heartbeat of a football team. So that’s one situation that Chip Kelly is going to have to clear up for the short-term and the long-term as well.

But what I really like about Chip, and I’ve watched his offense at Oregon for a number of years broken down on tape, tried to figure out what he’s trying to do and it’s very difficult to do that. Even a guy like me who’s a football wonk that studies all the tape–this guy is brilliant. He understands how to beat defenses. And he brings tremendous energy.

I know he is of the offensive persuasion, he cares about quarterback, but what I love is the energy he brings into the room that he will bring to the football team. That’s something you just can’t fabricate. I mean, he loves football and I think quickly the people of Philadelphia will understand that.

QUESTION:  Speaking of quarterbacks, right now there are three in the mix for the Eagles—Mike Vick, of course, Nick Foles and recently Dennis Dixon. Who do you anticipate succeeding the most in Kelly’s spread offense?

Jaws: I don’t think there’s any doubt it’s going to be Michael Vick. In fact, as Chip Kelly was hired I quickly announced that Michael Vick would be the quarterback, much to the chagrin of many people in Philadelphia who felt it was time to move on from Michael Vick and move to Nick Foles, or now we have a Dennis Dixon in the mix or whoever they deem in the draft or via free agency to acquire. But I think when you look at Michael Vick, he has a skill set that fits what Chip Kelly wants to run.  Mobility. The one thing, if you look at the Oregon offense, it’s not about throwing the football. It’s about a quarterback with movement who can run. Michael Vick can do both.

In the NFL it starts with throwing the football first. Mike Vick is still an outstanding passer of the football. We know he can run the football. Yes, he may have lost a couple tenths of a second in his 40 time, he may have gotten beat up a little bit over the past couple years, but even with those things going against Michael Vick he’s still a guy who can give you the burst, give you the big play.  I think he’s the absolute perfect fit for a Chip Kelly offense.

Then you go to Dennis Dixon, a guy that played with Chip Kelly out of Oregon, understands his system, has been with the Pittsburgh Steelers, has been with the Baltimore Ravens. He understands what it takes to run this system.

Nick Foles is your prototypical NFL pocket passer. I don’t see his style fitting in to what Chip Kelly wants to do. That’s not to take anything away from Nick Foles because I think eventually he is going to be an outstanding NFL quarterback. But he’s not a guy who fits in the type of offense that Chip Kelly wants to run.

QUESTION:  What do you think went wrong with the team last year, specifically? Can we chalk it up to talent or a lack of effort or was there something else going on?

Jaws: When we talk about professional football I never use the term “lack of effort.” I think these are highly skilled professional athletes that are paid to do their very best no matter what the situation is. Now, maybe there were some situations where they lacked the intensity and enthusiasm that we like to see from teams that are contending for a Super Bowl, but I certainly don’t think the Eagles would fall into the category of a team that lacked effort. Andy Reid got the best out of his football team.

When you look at last season’s 4-12 record, you have to go back to two years ago when the team struggled at 4-8. I believe going 8-8 masked their deficiencies. They were not a good football team at 4-8, they got their season to 8-8, Andy Reid got another shot but it was clear to me that there were problems within the football team that they needed to make changes. Those changes were not made, consequently the team comes back, suffers some very serious injuries–there’s no question of that–the offensive line was decimated and yes you did lose Michael Vick, your starting quarterback, for a number of games. But I look at this Eagles team now, this downfall where they won only four games this year, eight the year before, 12-20 over the last two years. This started a couple years ago. So clearly, I think all of the changes were mandated by a 12-20 record so time to move in another direction, and they are.

QUESTION: Is it true that Sixers’ current head coach Doug Collins gave you the nickname Jaws?

Jaws: That is correct! Doug Collins was my next door neighbor when he was playing for the Sixers and I was playing for the Eagles and he came up with the nickname Jaws. Now, most people think it was because the movie “Jaws” was very popular in the early 80s, but Doug said every time he saw me my jaws were always flapping so he gave me the nickname Jaws and it has stuck ever since.

QUESTION:  We all know and admire your analysis on ESPN but you’re working on a new project that’s pretty close to home, as it’s about your health.  You found relief from arthritis pain with a product called Stopain. Did your time playing football exacerbate your pain? Tell us a little about how you found your way to the product.

Jaws: I’m a 61-year old guy who played professional football for 17 years and 25 years total playing the game so when you get to be 61 there are some bumps and bruises that act up every now and then. Like most guys my age we’re looking for something that will provide us with some immediate relief and I found that in Stopain.

Before I got involved in the company I actually tried the product for months. I wanted to be sure that it worked, that it did help stop pain, that it allowed me to play golf, it allowed me to move freely, that it deeply penetrated my joints. It allowed me to swing the golf club, walk the golf course for 18 holes. Stopain had a remarkable turnaround in my life as far as being athletic and wanting to move and doing all of the things that I have to do at this age.

QUESTION: You’re part-owner of the Philadelphia Soul. We heard that you had some news that you wanted to share about the Soul. Is there anything you’d like to tell us?

Jaws:  There are so many great things happening with the Philadelphia Soul right now. Our training camp opens on March 2. We open our season in Arizona, which will be a replay of the Arena Bowl championship of a year ago in New Orleans. Philadelphia unfortunately lost that game to Arizona but we have a tremendous football team. We are very, very excited about bringing a championship back to Philadelphia. In 2008 we won the Arena Bowl championship and we kind of felt that we remained the team that everybody looked up to. Of course, a few months later the Philadelphia Phillies won the World Series and we feel that we removed the jinx of William Penn in the City of Philadelphia.

We feel very strongly about what we’ve been able to bring in terms of competitive football and championship football to Philadelphia. I think one of the really cool things that our ownership group of the Philadelphia Soul—Marty Judge, myself, Craig Spencer, Cosmo DeNicola, Pete Ciarrochi–we’re taking arena football to China. You heard me correct. We are taking not National Football League to China, the Arena Football League under the direction of our ownership group of the Philadelphia Soul is going to China. We are the only organization in football that is going to be playing football in China this fall. It’s very, very exciting.


I know you’re sorry it’s over but I have good news for you—it actually isn’t. Be sure to catch the full interview tomorrow, Tuesday, February 26 at 6 pm via The Broad Street Line podcast for more from Jaws, including his thoughts on other quarterbacks around the league.

Want more Philly Sports Muse? You can find me on Twitter at @sports_muse and on Facebook.


Brandyn Campbell of Philly Sports Muse, for War Room Sports


Monday, January 14th, 2013

by Nwaji Jibunoh







It is approximately 2:15am Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), and the pre game show is about to begin.  An alarm blares as a certain fan is forced to wake up from that early morning slumber, run to the refrigerator to get an ice cold beverage, a light snack, and then turn on the TV; but not too loud for fear of awakening others in that household who may be fast asleep.  For the next almost 3 hours, with only friends stateside to talk thrash with via Facebook, an NFL fan is engrossed from half way across the world in the 2013 playoffs.

This is the typical situation that anyone living on this side of the pond (Europe, West Africa, and the Middle East), must go through in order to enjoy the playoffs live and not a broadcast delay the following day when you will pretty much have got the full synopsis of the game by the time the replay comes on.

Football, or better classified as “American Football”, has never been as popular as the other American export Basketball for numerous reasons.  The main reason is that a lot of schools in this part of the world don’t have Football programs due to lack of interest and facilities, whereas basketball is quite popular because it is a lot easier to erect a few baskets than it is to buy football equipment.  And with basketball being played as a global sport during the Olympics, the rest of the world pretty much understands, appreciates, and loves that particular “American” sport.

However, over the last 10 years with the globalization of ESPN and FOX Sports, there has been a huge introduction of American Football to the rest of the world.  With such coverage, you will always find keen sports fans willing to learn something new and have a new team to support.  For most people in the States, they support teams based on a particular affinity to either the city the franchise belongs to or certain players.  The rest of the world has several different approaches to selecting favorite NFL teams.  You ask the majority of Europeans, Africans, or Asians who have never lived or schooled in the United States who their favorite team is, they will either say the New England Patriots or the New York Giants.  The reason being is that in the last 10 years, these are the two teams that have featured prominently in the Superbowl finals.  And of course, with Tom Brady being married to one of the hottest women in the world, people kind of flock towards the Pats.  In addition to that, a lot of new NFL watchers are starting to enjoy the sheer athleticism of the game and also the depth of technical coaching involved.  The world’s most popular sport; Soccer, does not have as many playbooks or as many coaches as football does.  This peaks a lot of curiosity into how the game is played and how every yard/inch/route/block counts for a victory or a loss.

This year, I have seen a heightened interest amongst sports watchers over the playoffs.  Since leaving the United States in 2004, I have not witnessed as much interest in the playoffs from die-hard soccer fans as I am witnessing this year.  ESPN International has spent a lot of marketing dollars hyping up certain players/rivalries/legacies/Cinderella stories to the point that folks over here just want to see how everything pans out.  There are the traditional Patriots fans, and then amazingly there are Ravens fans all over the place.  This is primarily due to people falling in love with Ray Lewis after seeing him do his intro dance, and of course the whole story with this being his curtain call.  It is all getting very exciting and I sincerely hope to see more people hosting those early morning Superbowl parties like I have been doing for a long time now.

It is interesting to see the sport grow to the level it is now.  It is also interesting to see little minor leagues pop up here and there with flag football tournaments.

With enough time, interest, and understanding of the game, I do believe that the NFL will gain as much popularity as basketball, showcasing how every sport has the potential to truly be a global game.


Nwaji Jibunoh, International Correspondent for War Room Sports

Located in Lagos, Nigeria, Nwaji Jibunoh is War Room Sports’ International Soccer Contributor.  Nwaji also contributes commentary on U.S. sports from an international perspective.  He’s an Atlanta Falcons fan, Howard University alum, and former tight end for the North Atlanta High School Warriors.