Super Bowl V: A Personal and Historical Memoir-part 3: Blunder Bowl or Hard Hitting Defense

Blunder Bowl or Hard-Hitting Game

The Chris Murray Report: A Public Forum For Sports, Politics, and Culture

By Chris Murray

For the Chris Murray Report

While Super Bowl V was a great memory for me personally as a Colts fan, the game itself was not seen in the same light among football historians and media people who covered it at the time. Sports Illustrated dubbed the game, “The Blunder Bowl.”

I can certainly understand why because in that game both teams combined to commit 11 turnovers. The Colts committed seven of them—which is still a Super Bowl record for  turnovers by a winning team. The Cowboys committed 10 penalties for 133 yards. It was a game that probably set offense back about 10,000t years.

That’s because both teams were among the top 10 in the NFL in defense-the Cowboys had the NFL’s fourth rated defense and had future Hall of Famers like cornerback Mel Renfro, Herb Adderly and defensive tackle Bob Lilly. The Colts, who sported the…

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Super Bowl V-A Personal and Historical Memoir Part 2: 1970 Colts and Cowboys defined by Sixties Playoff Frustration

Bridesmaids of the 1960s, the first two champions of the 1970s

The Chris Murray Report: A Public Forum For Sports, Politics, and Culture

Jim O’Brien celebrates after kicking winning field goal to beat Dallas in Super Bowl V

By Chris Murray

For the Chris Murray Report

What makes Super Bowl V interesting to me from a purely historical and somewhat metaphysical viewpoint, the destinies of the Colts and Cowboys are bizarrely intertwined with one another based on their experiences in the 1960s. Both teams during that decade had a penchant for coming up spectacularly short in the big game—they both shared the same nemesis—the Green Bay Packers and the Cleveland Browns.

As ironic as their paths were in the 1960s, it should be noted that the Colts were originally the Dallas Texans franchise (1950) that relocated to Baltimore in 1953.

Baltimore’s journey of postseason futility in the 1960s began on the cold field of Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium. Winners of the NFL’s Western Conference, the Colts came in with a 12-2 record and the…

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Super Bowl V: A Personal and Historical Memoir of the Colts Last Championship in Baltimore Part I

It has been 50 years since the Colts won their last NFL Championship as the Baltimore Colts

The Chris Murray Report: A Public Forum For Sports, Politics, and Culture

The last headline of a Colts Championship in Baltimore

By Chris Murray

For the Chris Murray Report

For all the sporting events that I have watched since I was six-years-old or better yet, the last 42 years, there’s two dates that I will always remember for both good and bad reasons. Starting with the bad—January 12, 1969—that, of course, was the day my beloved Baltimore Colts were upset by the New York Jets.

It was a bitterly disappointing end to their very first time I followed football as a six-year-old football fan. I thought the Colts of those days were unstoppable, especially after the 34-0 butt-whuppin they had put on the Cleveland Browns in the NFL Championship game. At a very young age,  it was my first taste of how your home town can break your heart.

But the other date that I will always remember as a sports fan…

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Roger Goodell and the NFL Need to Say Kaepernick was Right and Say Systemic Racism is Wrong

The tragic death of George Floyd at the hands of Minnesota police and the protests that ensued is exactly why Kaepernick took a knee four years ago   

By Chris Murray

For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

Colin Kaepernick and teammate Eric Reid (left) take a kneel during the national anthem to protest the unarmed killings of Black people by the police. Kaepernick remains unsigned since 2017.

“We lost because my guys didn’t stand up with me and I can’t make any excuse for them. Had we shown any amount of solidarity, if the superstars had stood up and said we’re with Curt Flood. If the superstars had walked into that courtroom and made their presence known, I think that the owners would have gotten the message and given me a chance to win that.” Curt Flood after losing his Supreme Court case to end Baseball’s Reserve Clause in 1972.

I start this column with the above quote as the nation is reeling from demonstrations and riots after the tragic death of George Floyd, an African-American who was unjustly strangled to death by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin despite his desperate plea of “I can’t breathe.”

I was moved by the Twitter comments of Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz who expressed a sadness felt by many: “All I know is that the institutional racism in this country breaks my heart and needs to stop. Can’t even fathom what the Black community has to endure on a daily basis.”

Throughout the NFL, several high-profile white players including six-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady and Joe Burrows, the Cincinnati Bengals No. 1 draft pick and 2019 Heisman Trophy winner, have expressed empathy for what happened in Minneapolis. 

But then, I flashed back to the 2016 season when former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was taking a knee during the national anthem to protest police brutality and raise awareness of systemic racism. None of those white players, with the exception of players like Eagles defensive lineman Chris Long, were vocally supporting Kaepernick’s protest.     

I wonder what would have happened if other higher-profile white superstars had come out for Kaepernick? Would he have gotten another job?  Hmmm. What if New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees had really understood why Kaepernick was protesting instead of just coming out against it?

Kaepernick’s protest, while supported by a few players (both Black and white), was not only vilified as being anti-American, anti-flag and unpatriotic by a large number of white fans who expressed their rage in a variety of ways including burning his jersey.  

On top of that, the Idiot-in-Chief, President Donald J. Trump, felt the need to gin things up by calling for retribution against the players engaging in anthem protests. While speaking at one of his infamous rallies, Trump said of Kaepernick,: “Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, he’s fired.” 

Even more troubling was that more than a few NFL executives branded Kaepernick as a traitor and made sure that he would never get another job with an NFL team for daring to bring awareness to systemic racism in America.

Joe Lockhart, who served as the NFL’s executive vice president in charge of communication and government affairs, said in a piece on CNN.com that the owners felt Kaepernick’s protest was “bad’ for business. Despite efforts by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to persuade the teams to sign Kaepernick, the owners were dedicated to keeping him out.

“That symbol of racial injustice was reinforced every day that Colin sat on the outside of the football world,” Lockhart wrote. “It may have seemed like a good business decision for the clubs not to sign him and it certainly wasn’t illegal, but it was wrong.”

Unfortunately, it took another the unnecessary, on-camera death of another Black man at the hands of a police officer to get some of the NFL’s white players to understand why Kaepernick was taking a knee. 

I am hoping that the unrest in cities from Philadelphia to Salt Lake City will finally bring the owners to their senses and get them to acknowledge that the blackballing of Kaepernick was morally wrong and unfair. Given that 85% of the NFL’s players are African-Americans, isn’t silence in the face of bigotry and systemic racism also bad for business?

Goodell and the owners need to do what they did for Michael Vick when he was let back into the league after being suspended for dogfighting. Vick not only owned up to his transgressions, but he also became a part of solving the problem by becoming an anti-dog fighting advocate.    

The NFL, led by Goodell and the owners, needs to acknowledge that keeping Kaepernick out of the league was wrong and give him a real opportunity to resume his career.

But more importantly than that, the NFL has to show some respect for it’s mostly Black workforce and the league’s Black fans by truly involving themselves in the fight to end systemic racism in America instead of just throwing money at the problem.

Because whether they like it or not, the NFL needs to recognize that unlike appeasing an angry player with an incentive laden contract, the problem of systemic racism won’t be solved by throwing money at it.

Kobe Bryant’s Legacy Should be Viewed Honestly and its Entirety

KobeGianna

After retiring from basketball, Kobe Bryant spent a lot of time with his family. He is pictured here with his daughter Gianna. Both were tragically killed in the helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Jan. 25.

Gayle King’s interview with Lisa Leslie and Snoop Dogg’s profanity-laced response to it brought to life to a misunderstanding of journalism and how we view the legacy of public figures 

By Chris Murray

For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

The fallout over CBS Morning News host Gayle King’s interview with WNBA legend Lisa Leslie following the death of Kobe Bryant and rapper Snoop Dogg’s profanity-laced video response to it led to some really problematic responses on social media.

It also showed that there is a disconnect between many African Americans and the practice of journalism as well as the dangers of hero-worship.

During the course of what was an in-depth interview with Leslie, King asked whether Bryant’s legacy would be complicated by the rape accusation made by a young woman in Eagle, Colorado in 2003. The case was ultimately dismissed because the alleged victim refused to testify. There was ultimately a settlement reached between Bryant and the woman in civil court.

At a press conference after the settlement, Bryant issued the following apology:

“Although I truly believe this encounter between us was consensual, I recognize now that she did not and does not view this incident the same way I did. After months of reviewing discovery, listening to her attorney, and even her testimony in person, I now understand how she feels that she did not consent to this encounter.”

Because Leslie answered King’s questions, which were asked in a professional manner, and also because other outlets including ESPN, the Washington Post, and the New York Daily News, had brought up the topic as well, I didn’t see any problem.

But for people like Snoop Dogg and a large number of African-Americans on social media, King went too far and caught the wrath. On platforms like Twitter and Facebook, King was accused of trying to assassinate Bryant’s legacy by the simple act of bringing up the incident. King was vilified as a race traitor who, along with close friend Oprah Winfrey, was a part of a vast conspiracy to destroy Black men. There were more than a few people who thought King’s line of questioning was immoral.

Immoral? Really?!

But the Black journalist community, myself included, defended King because what Snoop Dogg said in his video was more than just hateful.

It was wrong. And it shows that people don’t know how journalism works. While some in the media community may debate how King conducted her interview, I don’t think she had sinister intentions nor do I believe that King deserved all the hate-filled vitriol she received.

The mention of the incident by media outlets isn’t an attack on Bryant’s legacy. It’s a part of it, whether people like it or not.

From my perspective as a journalist, I’m not mad that King brought up the sexual assault allegation because it’s part of Bryant’s public record. Every major media outlet in the country reported on it at the time of the former Lakers star untimely death and ignoring it would make no sense.

That was something that a lot of people outside of journalism on my social media feed couldn’t comprehend, and on one level, I get it.

For African-American men grieving Bryant’s death, bringing up the events in Colorado felt like another attack on Black men from a society that views us with unnecessary suspicion and tends to come down harder on us when suspected of committing a crime.

We are always on double-secret probation.

But keeping reporters from doing their jobs isn’t going to stop that from being the case.

As the saga went on, Georgetown University Professor Michael Eric Dyson wound up being the voice of reason. He said what this group of mostly African American men didn’t want to hear, which was that Bryant wouldn’t have become the man he was when he died without that incident as a catalyst.

“When you notice Kobe Bryant’s trajectory from that moment on, here was a man who was deeply and profoundly committed to his wife (Vanessa Bryant),” Dyson said. “He confessed his adultery to her. He apologized in public for that as well. He went on to have four daughters with his wife and he embraced women’s sports.”

“Yes, he acknowledged that there had to be a paradigm shift in his life and he didn’t have to say that,” Dyson continued. “He evidenced that in his own life, in his own living and transformation.”

Our legacies are often shaped by the good, the bad, and the ugly. Some say that President Lyndon Johnson’s legacy on Civil Rights and the Great Society was tarnished because of the Vietnam War. I can personally look at how Michael Vick bounced back from serving time in prison for dogfighting to becoming a better football player, husband, father and an advocate against animal cruelty.

To quote the character, Troy Maxson, in August Wilson’s play, Fences: “You gotta take the crookeds with the straights.”

But you have to take all of it. Not just the part you like.

Mahomes and Other Black Quarterbacks Continue to Shatter Old Stereotypes

Mahomes and Jackson

Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson are not only changing the game but elevating it to a higher level because of their arm strength and mobility.

If nothing else, the way that Patrick Mahomes’ managed to win Super Bowl LIV should keep Black quarterbacks of the future from being forced into different positions in the NFL. 

By Chris Murray 

For the Philadelphia Sunday Sun and the Chris Murray Report 

Throughout a lifetime of watching football-which dates back to the late 1960s, I wa

s always hoping for a time when African-Americans playing quarterback in the NFL would be seen as something so routine that we don’t really notice it.

My hope is that the way Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes led his team to victory in Super Bowl LIV finally gets us closer to that reality.

Mahomes, who was also named the game’s Most Valuable Player, brought his team all the way back from a 10-point deficit against a San Francisco 49ers defense that was first in the league against the pass and second overall in total yards allowed. For the game, Mahomes threw two touchdown passes and passed for 286 yards.

But that’s the way Mahomes had done it throughout the playoffs. The league’s MVP in 2018, brought the Chiefs back from double-digit deficits in all three of Kansas City’s postseason wins.

Mahomes becomes only the third Black quarterback to win the Super Bowl and the second to be named the game’s MVP.

But being named the MVP for the game for all of the NFL Marbles hasn’t kept past winners, like for example, former Washington Redskins quarterback Doug Williams, from having to justify their existence despite having one the greatest performances in Super Bowl history.

Being one of the most prolific passers in the game didn’t keep Warren Moon, a with a bust in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, from having to fight through doubts about his ability. It also didn’t keep former Philadelphia Eagle Randall Cunningham, the original mobile quarterback, from having to fight them either.

When guys like Donovan McNabb, Michael Vick, Cam Newton,  Colin Kaepernick, and Vince Young came along, there were more than a few observers of the game who would devalue the ability of these guys by saying that they were more “athletic”, implying a lack of the intelligence necessary to stand in the pocket and read pro-level defenses.

I’m hoping that the success of African-American quarterbacks during the 2019 NFL season will lay waste to this mindset once and for all. This season, African-American quarterbacks have had an unprecedented run of success, not only in statistical categories but also in league honors.

For example, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, whose mother, Felicia Jones looks like a genius for not allowing anyone to make her son change positions in college or the NFL, elevated the quarterback position to another level.  Bigger and faster than Michael Vick, Jackson wowed fans with his legs and his arm. He set an NFL rushing record for quarterbacks gaining 1,206 yards. He passed for 3,127 yards and threw a league-leading 36 touchdown passes, and won this year’s MVP award unanimously.

Even in a shocking loss to the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Divisional Playoffs, Jackson accumulated 508 yards of total offense-365 passing and 143 yards rushing.

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray was the best player on a losing team. He passed for 3, 722 and tossed 20 touchdown passes. He completed 64 percent of his passes. He also gained 544 yards on the ground with four touchdowns.  For his efforts, Murray was 2019’s Offensive Rookie of the Year.

The common thread between Mahomes, Jackson, and Murray is that they are duel-threat quarterbacks who can run and pass. More than a few football experts are saying that the mobile dual-threat quarterback is the wave of future and that the standard drop-back passer is a thing of the past mainly because defensive players are just as fast as the players on offense.

Mahomes, Murray, and Jackson have proven that they can pass from the pocket, but they can use their legs to buy time and to make plays downfield in the passing game.

Outside of the aforementioned superstars, four Black quarterbacks, Jackson, Tampa Bay’s Jameis Winston, Seattle’s Russell Wilson and Dallas’s Dak Prescott were among the top quarterbacks in touchdown passes. Winston and Prescott led the NFL in passing yards.

By the way, Wilson, Mahomes, Jackson, and Houston Texans quarterback Dashaun Watson led their teams into the playoffs.

The common denominator in the success of this current crew of Black quarterbacks is that you have coaches like the Baltimore Ravens’ John Harbaugh who have figured out that you have to gear your offensive scheme to what your player does best instead of trying to shoehorn into an offensive scheme that doesn’t fit your quarterback’s skill set.

With all the success of this current generation of Black quarterbacks and the success, I don’t want to hear any of you so-called draft experts or pundits overusing the term “athleticism” or telling him to switch positions.

It’s a bad stereotype, intellectually lazy and an insult.

Now that 2019 has proven that, do better!

Kobe Bryant: Gone but Not Forgotten

Kobe Bryant was a Philly Legend Whose Work Ethic and Determination Made him One of the All-Time Greats

By Chris Murray 

For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

Kobephotobywebster

Kobe Bryant was a relentless competitor and played a ferocity that was rarely matched during his stellar NBA career. Photo by Webster Riddick.

When I heard the tragic news that former Lower Merion great and Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven other people, I was in the middle of celebrating the University of Maryland’s men’s basketball team’s one-point win over the Indiana Hoosiers, a win they picked up after overcoming a six-point deficit with 1:08 left.

It was the kind of game that Bryant, known as a relentless competitor who never gave up when his team was down and always came through in the clutch, would have appreciated.

Bryant, known as the “Black Mamba,” will be remembered as one of the game’s greatest winners of All-Time. Drafted 13th overall in the NBA Draft in 1996 out of Lower Merion High School, Bryant was an 18-time All-star, a two-time NBA Finals MVP, 2008 NBA MVP, and a part of five Los Angeles Lakers championships before retiring in 2016.  He also won two Olympic Gold Medals.

Former 76ers star Julius Erving said in an ESPN documentary said Bryant was “as good as anybody that has ever played the game.”

And I think he’s absolutely right about that.

During his storied career, Bryant helped to lead the Lakers to five NBA titles, and he did it with an iron-willed swag that made him the idol of the millions. There are few athletes in the history of sports that played with his ferocity and determination. I can name guys like Michael Jordan, Roberto Clemente, Jim Brown, Frank Robinson, Joe Frazier, Pete Rose and even Allen Iverson who approached their sports with an all-out determination to win.

And yes, Bryant is a Philadelphia legend basketball on that same Philly basketball Mount Rushmore along with legends like Wilt Chamberlain, Julius Erving, Allen Iverson, Dawn Staley, Earl Monroe and a who’s who list of legendary players.  I’m not getting into the stupid semantics of whether he was a Philly guy or not because he played his high school at suburban Lower Merion High School.

To me, Bryant’s work ethic and dogged toughness enabled him to play through pain and play well is the epitome of being a Philly athlete. Yes, he played his high school ball in Ardmore, but make no mistake he is Philly-made, Philly strong. He was a giant among Philadelphia’s legendary star athletes.

Bryant, who once scored 81 points in a game, often reminded me of Joe Frazier or even Mike Tyson coming forward to stalk their opponent and would not rest until his opponent was vanquished. That’s what folks meant when you talked about Bryant’s “Mamba Mentality.” It was the constant determination to win by any means necessary.

As a fan of the Sixers, especially in that 2001 NBA Finals, Bryant was that nemesis that you wanted to beat because he was such a great player. Even when the Sixers were leading or hanging around the Lakers in that Series, you knew Bryant was lurking in the shadows to make the buckets that were going to bury you and your team.

After he retired from the game, Bryant was bringing to bring that “Mamba Mentality,” his all-out effort to achieve success outside of basketball. Not only did he write several books, but he also started his own media company and won an Academy Award in 2018 for Best Animated Short Film, “Dear Basketball,” which was based on a poem in 2015 after he announced his retirement from basketball.

But the real sadness from the tragedy of Kobe’s death is that we will never get to see him spend time with Gianna, who was becoming a skilled basketball player in her own right. They were on their way to a youth basketball tournament she was participating in when the crash occurred.

KobeGianna

After retiring from basketball, Kobe Bryant spent a lot of time with his daughter Gianna.

Watching images of Kobe Bryant mentoring his daughter at WNBA games along with his wife, Vanessa and three other daughters, Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3 and Capri, 7 months is the saddest thing of all.  Bryant was well on his way to becoming one of the all-time great dads of all-time, something thing he treasured more than any of his accolades in basketball.

While it may be “Mamba Out”,  Bryant’s legacy and determination will live on.

Finally! Former Eagles Wide Receiver Harold Carmichael is Now a Hall of Famer

 

Former Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Harold Carmichael was recently inducted in the 2020 Class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Philadelphia Eagles great Harold Carmichael will finally, at long last, be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

By Chris Murray

For the Philadelphia Sunday Sun and the Chris Murray Report

One of the great joys that I’ve had as a sportswriter is seeing really good athletes that have been underrated and overlooked through no fault of their own finally get the accolades and respect that they deserve.

For many years, wide receiver Harold Carmichael, one of the Philadelphia Eagles all-time greats, has been denied entry into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. This is in spite of being one of the best receivers of an era of the NFL where the game was geared more to the run than to the pass.

As the Hall of Fame voters got younger and memories of bygone years faded, it appeared as if the exploits of the Jacksonville, Florida native would be forgotten and he would never wear that coveted gold Hall of Fame jacket that he so richly deserved.

After 31 years of eligibility, Carmichael on Wednesday was finally selected for induction in the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Centennial Slate for the Class of 2020.  The former Southern University star was a seniors’ selection by a special Blue-Ribbon panel at a meeting held last week at the Hall-of-Fame’s offices in Canton, Ohio.

Carmichael actually found out the news that he made it to the Hall of Fame Monday from Hall of Fame President David Baker, but he had to keep it a secret from friends and family. But he did tell his wife, Bea, the news after he got the phone call.

“I said, ‘Bea, I’m in’ and she started screaming and I got scared because thinking people were thinking that I was beating her up, but she was so elated,” Carmichael said in a conference call with the Philadelphia-area media. “We settled down after about five and we said let’s drink a toast. We got some Crown Royal Apple and we started toasted that for a while. It was still trying to sink in for me. She was the only person around. They asked me not to say anything for a while and that was one of the hardest things for me to do.”

I can’t think of a nicer, more congenial guy to be selected into the Hall of Fame. Carmichael is proof positive that nice guys do finish first. I’m also happy that sportswriters like myself, the Philadelphia Tribune’s Donald Hunt, and a host of other reporters and broadcasters made the case for Carmichael through their columns and feature stories.

Carmichael, who played with the Eagles from 1971 to 83 and with the Dallas Cowboys in 1984, was among 10 senior players chosen for induction, a list that includes former Pittsburgh Steelers star Donnie Shell, the late Winston Hill, a former New York Jets offensive lineman who protected Joe Namath during the Jets upset of the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III, and former Dallas Cowboys safety Cliff Harris. All of these guys should have been in the Hall of Fame a long time ago in my opinion.

That is definitely the case for Carmichael.

During his 13-year career with the Birds, the 6-foot-8 Carmichael played on some really bad teams, yet managed to still become one of the best receivers in the NFL. In 1972 and 1973, Carmichael led the NFL in receptions and receiving yards. Unfortunately, the Eagles 2-11-1 in 1972 and 5-8-1 in 1973.

When Carmichael retired in 1984, he had 590 receptions for 8,895 yards with 79 touchdowns. He was a four-time All-Pro and was a seven-time all-NFC selection. When he retired, he was fifth on the all-time list.

What makes Carmichael’s accomplishments as a wide receiver so special is that he caught the bulk of his passes in an era when defensive backs could bump pass receivers downfield as long as the ball was not in the air. That’s why it was called bump and run coverage. Since 1978, a defensive back can only bump a receiver within five yards away from the line of scrimmage.

“They could beat you up from the snap of the ball all the way to the goal line,” Carmichael said. “There was not that much pass interference when you’re battling a defensive back, you’re both bumping each other.

“That was the nature of the game. Who was going to be the strongest and who’s going to get the best position on the ball?  It was tough back then because they could put their hands down the field.  A lot of people say they were shorter than me, but some of these guys were stronger than me and faster than I was. The thing I had to do was get my body position on them. Defensive backs today have to be careful because you can’t touch them.”

One of the things that prepared Carmichael for those battles he would have with cornerback was his practices at historically Black Southern University. Coming in his walk-on, Carmichael’s toughest challenge came in the form of his teammate and future Hall of Famer Mel Blount, who would terrorize NFL receivers during his days with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Carmichael said Blount was often physical with him in practice. He said Blount would two-hand touch other guys in practice but would come after him a lot harder.

“I would say to this day that Mel Blount was one of the defensive backs that got me ready to come into the NFL,” Carmichael said. “If I caught a ball on him he would want to clothesline or forearm me and used to wonder why, but then I thought about it because I dated his cousin in high school. She probably said something to him because (Blount) wanted to beat me every day in practice. He’s one of the toughest defensive back I went against. There’s a bunch of guys I went against, Mike Haynes (New England and Los Angeles Raiders) and Lester Hayes (Oakland Raiders), but Mel Blount got me ready for the NFL.”

Since that rule change, the passing game has flourished and receivers have been putting up astronomical numbers in the passing game. If the rules had been what is now, Carmichael might have caught more passes for more yards than the players of today.

Still, Carmichael managed to catch 40 or more passes in nine straight seasons. From 1972 to 1980, Carmichael caught at least one pass in 127 straight games. He was a part of a four-year playoff run in which the Eagles won their first NFC East crown and made their first appearance in the Super Bowl by defeating the Dallas Cowboys in the 1980 NFC Championship Game.

That said, Carmichael, who is also on the NFL’s All 1970s team, finished his career with more receiving yardage than guys like former Miami Dolphins and Cleveland Browns star Paul Warfield and former Pittsburgh Steelers wideout Lynn Swann.

That’s why I have often said that Carmichael should have been in the Hall-of-Fame a long time ago. I think with all the astronomical numbers that guys like Jerry Rice and Randy Moss have put up over the years at the receiver position, it’s easy to overlook the guys from the 1960s or 1970s like Carmichael or Dallas Cowboys all-time great wide receiver Drew Pearson, another guy who deserves to be in Canton.

Every time I’ve run into Carmichael at an Eagles game, I’ve told him that he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.

Now, I can’t wait to congratulate him in person.

Jackson Ready for Playoff Run

Lamar Jackson photo

Lamar Jackson hopes to start fast in the Baltimore Ravens AFC Divisional Playoff matchup against the Tennessee Titans Saturday night at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iif2NWLiZZI

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson helped his team become the AFC’s No. 1 seed in the playoffs. But can he get them to the Super Bowl?

By Chris Murray

For the Philadelphia Sunday Sun and the Chris Murray Report

Owings Mills, Md.—For all the rave reviews and the talk of having revolutionized football that Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson has received during the 2019 regular-season, the big question for the former Louisville star could get answered this weekend.

Can he lead them to a Super Bowl?

Jackson, the odds-on favorite to be NFL’s Most Valuable Player, has a tough task ahead of him in the Ravens AFC Divisional Playoff matchup against a very physical Tennessee Titans squad looking to spring a huge upset Saturday at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.

In a season where he’s been mobbed by children at a local mall, named an All-Pro and starred on just about every highlight reel on every sports media outlet from ESPN to YouTube, Jackson said he is focused on the single goal of a Super Bowl win.

“It’s cool, It’s cool … I’m just trying to work. I want a Super Bowl,” Jackson said. “All the accolades and stuff like that, I’ll cherish that, but I’m trying to chase something else right now. … I’ve been wanting a
Super Bowl since I was a kid. That’s why I play the game because I want to win.”

Throughout the season, Jackson has become the ultimate weapon as a duel-threat quarterback with record-setting numbers. In his first full season as a starter, he set an NFL record for rushing yards in a single season by a quarterback by gaining 1,206 yards, breaking a record held by former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick.

“The new era that we’re in now in the NFL, he knows his matchups,” said Ravens veteran safety Earl Thomas, who won a Super Bowl ring with the Seattle Seahawks in 2013. “He uses the big tight ends, throws where only they can catch the ball and we all know what he can do once he starts to run.”

When the season began, more than a few NFL experts wrote Jackson off as a “running quarterback”, but he’s changed the minds of many in that regard. Jackson passed for 3,127 yards, completed 66.1 percent, was third in the league in quarterback rating, and led the league with 36 touchdown passes.

“He’s good at everything, he was already so good at everything,” said tight end Mike Andrews, who caught 64 passes from Jackson for 852 yards and 10 touchdowns. “I think mentally the quarterback position is so hard and so tough. After a year of being in the system, seeing defenses in the NFL, he’s been able to learn and been able to grow mentally in the whole football mindset.”

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said Jackson’s running ability and his knack for getting the ball in tight spaces is a big help the Ravens in the red zone.

“He can also extend the play, hold the ball, move if he has to and he’s really done well with that,” Harbaugh said.

Jackson’s teammates like wide receiver Willie Snead IV said Jackson is driven by a desire to win and will take all the necessary to get there like working with his receivers after practice and during the offseason prior to training camp.

“It’s all set on Lamar. He wants to be great because of his work ethic and as a competitor. He wants to be the best. He wants the best for us,” Snead IV said. “He wants to see us all eat. I’m on board for that.”

But the true worth of Jackson’s season will be having to do it under the spotlight of a single-elimination playoff run where every opposing coach, including Saturday’s opponent, has seen him on tape and is scrutinizing his every step, hoping to find some weakness in what he does to exploit throughout the course of the game.

As he approaches his second playoff game, Jackson says he’s more prepared than he was during last January’s Wild Card loss to the Los Angeles Chargers and he’s ready for anything the Titans throw at him.

“I’m not a rookie anymore, I’ve been around. I’ve seen everything that they can bring …  And we’re going to see it,” Jackson said. “Can’t start too late. You have to attack fast. It doesn’t really matter what quarter is, first or second, you have to attack. You have to finish the game strong. You can’t just go into the game playing half-assed.”

During the team’s organized teams last spring, Jackson said Ravens defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale has been testing him in practice by throwing a number of blitzes and disguised coverages at him.

“(Martindale) used to disguise crazy blitzes during OTAs and stuff like that, and it just helped me a lot, knowing where guys would be and knowing the area of the field. I just have to get the ball out where my receiver can get it or no one can.”

Ravens backup quarterback Robert Griffin III said the Ravens coaching staff has done a good job of preparing Jackson for any kind of wrinkle the Titans or any other teams will throw at him during the course of the game.

“Whatever they play we can adjust to that in-game so we’re not sitting ducks like ‘they played man-to-man all season and now they’re playing zone, what are we gonna do?’ Griffin III said. “When you do put stuff on tape and teams do something to take that away, you can adjust to give them a new problem.

“I think that’s what we’ve done all year (with Jackson). We continue to give teams new problems with Lamar running, Lamar throwing, our receiver packages, our tight end packages, jet sweeps … we keep giving teams new problems. …We want to be the math that they can’t figure out.”

Titans head coach Mike Vrabel said he has been using backup quarterback and former starter Marcus Mariota simulating Jackson to prepare his defense. But that’s not enough to fully capture Jackson’s speed in-game conditions.

“Other than try to tie (Jackson’s) shoelaces together, not many people have had success,” Vrabel said with a little tongue and cheek during a phone interview with the Baltimore-area media. “We’ll have to prepare and try to get our players as ready as possible to defend not only him but (running Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards.”

If you want to see what happens, catch the game on Saturday night at 8pm on CBS-3.