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Joe Paterno – The Final Football Chapter

In Joe Paterno on January 25, 2012 at 4:45 pm

There have been so many great things written about Joe Paterno this week following his passing and very few of them talked about the football coach. That in itself is truly amazing when you’re talking about the winningest coach in FBS history. This is a lengthy list but one I think that’s worth reading. His accomplishments over 61 years in Happy Valley will never be surpassed.

  • Donated more than $4 million to Penn State, and funded the school’s library.
  • College Football Hall of Fame – 2007
  • Most Wins – 409
  • Most Bowl Wins – 24
  • National Championships – 2, 1982, 1986
  • Undefeated Season – 5, 1968, 1969, 1973, 1986, 1994
  • Big 10 Championships – 3, 1994, 2005, 2008
  • Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year – 1986
  • AFCA Coach of the Year – 5, 1968, 1978, 1982, 1986, 2005
  • Walter Camp Coach of the Year – 3, 1972, 1994, 2005
  • Big 10 Coach of the Year – 3, 1994, 2005, 2008
  • George Munger Award – – 3, 1990, 1994, 2005
  • Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year – 3, 1978, 1982, 1986
  • Paul “Bear” Bryant Award – 1, 1986
  • Amos Alonzo Stagg Award – 1, 2002
  • The Home Depot Coach of the Year Award – 1, 2005
  • Sporting News Coach of the Year Award – 1, 2005
  • Most seasons as Head Coach at one university – 44
  • Years on the Penn State staff – 62
  • Beaver Stadium capacity in 1966 – 46,284
  • Beaver Stadium capacity in 2012 – 106,572
  • Winning Seasons – 38, one more than Bear Bryant.
  • 1st Team All Americans – 79.
  • National Football Foundation Scholar-Athletes – 16
  • First-team Capital One/CoSIDA All-Americans – 37
  • NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship winners – 18
  • 1st Team Academic All-American – 13 since 2006.
  • NFL Players – 350+
  • NFL 1st Round Draft Choices – 32
  • U.S, Presidents during his PSU career – 13 starting with Harry Truman
  • Since he became head coach in 1966, there have been 886 coaching changes at FBS schools.
  • Head Coaching Record – 409-136-3
  • Bowl Record – 24-12-1
  • The only coach to win each of the four major bowls—Rose, Orange, Fiesta, and Sugar—as well as the Cotton Bowl Classic, at least once.
  • Penn State won at least three bowl games each decade since 1970.
  • Fiesta Bowl Wins – 6, 1977, 1980, 1981, 1986, 1991, and 1996
  • Orange Bowl Wins –  4, 1968, 1969, 1973, and 2005
  • Outback Bowl Wins – 3, 1995, 1998, 2006
  • Cotton Bowl Wins – 2, 1972 and 1974
  • Citrus Bowl Wins – 2, 1993 and 2010
  • Alamo Bowl Wins – 2, 1999 and 2007
  • Rose Bowl Wins – 1, 1994
  • Sugar Bowl Wins – 1, 1982
  • Liberty Bowl Wins – 1, 1979
  • Aloha Bowl Wins – 1, 1983
  • Holiday bowl Wins – 1, 1989



  • May 27, 1950 – Hired by Rip Engle to coach the quarterbacks.
  • September 30, 1950 – 1st game – Penn State defeated Georgetown, 34-14, before a crowd of 16,617 at New Beaver Field.
  • October 29, 1960 – Game #100 Penn State 34 West Virginia 13.


  • September 17, 1966 – Win #1. In front of a crowd of 40,911 inside Beaver Stadium a 15-7 win over Maryland. 
  • January 1, 1969: Penn State 15, Kansas 14; first perfect season, 11-0
  • September 26, 1970 – Game #200 Penn State lost to Colorado 41-23, snapping the Nittany Lions’ 31-game unbeaten streak.
  • January 1, 1970: Penn State 10, Missouri 3; second perfect season, 11-0
  • January 1, 1974: Penn State 16, LSU 9; third perfect season, 12-0
  • November. 6, 1976: WIN #100, Penn State 41, N.C. State 20
  • October 21, 1978 – Game #300. Penn State 45-15 Syracuse 15.
  • January 1, 1983 – Penn State won its first National Championship defeating No. 1 Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. 
  • November 22, 1986 – Game #400 Penn State 34 Pittsburgh 14.
  • January 2, 1987 – The Nittany Lions claimed their second National Championship with a 14-10 upset of then No. 1 Miami in the Fiesta Bowl.
  • September. 5, 1987: WIN #200 – Penn State 45, Bowling Green 19
  • January. 2, 1995: Penn State 38, Oregon 20; fifth perfect season, 12-0
  • September 23, 1995 – Game #500 Penn State defeated Rutgers in Giants Stadium, 59-34.
  • September. 12, 1998: WIN #300 – Penn State 48, Bowling Green 3
  • October 27, 2001 – WIN #324. In one of the greatest Penn State comebacks in Beaver Stadium history, the Nittany Lions rallied from a 27-9 deficit to defeat rival Ohio State  The win moved Coach Paterno past Alabama’s Paul “Bear” Bryant into the all-time victories lead in Division I college football history.
  • September 27, 2003 – Game #600 Penn State was upset 20-14 by Minnesota.
  • November 6, 2010 – WIN #400 at Beaver Stadium. Wins 100, 200, 300, 324 and 400 and 409 were all played at Beaver Stadium.  The game was the biggest comeback in Beaver Stadium history under Joe.  Penn State scored 35 unanswered points to overcome a 21-0 deficit to beat Northwestern 35-21. 
  • October 1, 2011 – Game #700 Penn State beat Indiana 16-10 in Bloomington.
  • October 29, 2011 – Win #409 Penn State beat Illinois 10-7 at Beaver Stadium. This would be the final game and final win for Coach Paterno. This was also Game #704.

The Word of the Day – LEGACY – Paterno

In Joe Paterno, The Word of the Day on January 25, 2012 at 8:12 am


“They ask me what I’d like written about me when I’m gone. I hope they write I made Penn State a better place, not just that I was a good football coach.”


Joe Paterno

LaVar Steps Up for JoePa!!

In Joe Paterno on January 24, 2012 at 10:10 am

Following is an interview done with LaVar Arrington yesterday that I wanted to share. Thanks to my friend Don for sharing it with me. I don’t know where it came from so can’t provide a credit. This says it all about Joe Paterno and the lessons taught to so many, even an emotional person like LaVar Arrington. Great job Joe and great job LaVar.

People have been asking about my feelings on this weekend’s passing of Joe Paterno. My phone has not stopped ringing with requests for interviews about Joe.  I know this will be a very long week for me. In a blog entry I posted after his last interview, I pretty much said my piece about my relationship with him and my thoughts on how he handled the scandal. I really thought I would wake up angry and upset today, ready to fight against what I feel took Coach down that final road of no return, but I didn’t. Instead of gearing up to lash out and let my emotions get the best of me for the second time, I actually woke up feeling a great deal of peace. I began recounting so many times I heard that loud distinctive voice directing and teaching. I started envisioning all the funny little moments, like when I use to smack Joe on the behind at team meetings and say, “Good day to be a Nittany Lion coach!”

 I remember the pregame speeches. Boy could he deliver a pregame speech. There are so many moments yesterday evening and this morning that I’m recounting about my time at school with him. I remember one time he sent for me to come to his office. At the time that was a scary invite, and I was right; my grades had started to slip after I became a “superstar” and he got into me pretty good about it.

The reason why I feel peace about Joe’s passing, is because all that Joe was is what I represent today and will pass on to my children. People may try and tear down his legacy. They will attempt to turn Joe into something he was not because of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. I waged war on the Penn State board of trustees because in my opinion they allowed this to happen. 

My focus was misguided. I should’ve approached the coaching search the way Joe would have — with grace and thoughtfulness. I made a terrible mistake when I said I was done with Penn State. I let frustration and anger guide my actions. But today my focus is not about attacking those who wish to say or do things to try and tarnish his legacy or ours. It’s not even about defending him in the media every day. Joe’s work speaks for itself. Through it all, he maintained the man that he was and even when he had one last chance to open fire on those who sacrificed him, he didn’t. I realize it’s our actions, in how we live our lives and impact others, that will forever tell the true story of Joseph Vincent Paterno.

Today I’m rededicating myself to strive to work harder, to be better — a better husband, a better dad, a better son, a better role model. Today I will carry the lessons taught to me by the great people who have graced my life and work to be better.

 The biggest tribute I can give to Coach Paterno is taking all that I’ve learned from him and apply it in my life. I, too, someday will cease to exist on this earth physically, but to know that my good works impacted someone so much that they would speak of me the way I speak of my former coach today, that’s the best way for me to honor the man who for three years taught me in his own way what it took to be a man.

 Thank you so much for being a great example, Joe. I will keep your memory alive as I too am not a perfect man, but yet and still a man. That means I can admit when I’ve made a mistake. I will protect and provide for my family, I will never yield standing on my spiritual, moral values and principles. Most important, I will always keep God first in the things that I do in my life.

 I didn’t see Joe much after I left school, so selfishly a small part of me will continue on as if he is still around just enjoying retirement. I hope in some way, maybe he is.

 Take care, Joe.


LaVar Arrington, Class of ’99. We are Penn State.

The Word of the Day – Confidence – Paterno

In Joe Paterno, The Word of the Day on January 24, 2012 at 7:46 am


“Besides pride, loyalty, discipline, heart and mind, confidence is the key to all of the locks”


Joe Paterno

Quotes about Joe Paterno

In Joe Paterno on January 23, 2012 at 3:23 pm

“He died as he lived. He fought hard until the end, stayed positive, thought only of others and constantly reminded everyone of how blessed his life had been. His ambitions were far-reaching, but he never believed he had to leave this Happy Valley to achieve them. He was a man devoted to his family, his university, his players and his community.” — Paterno family.

“He was a tremendous teacher not because he knew all of the answers but because he challenged us to find the answers for ourselves. … His spirit will live on in all of us who had the great honor of knowing him and running out of the tunnel with him on so many autumn Saturdays.” — Paterno assistant and former Penn State interim head coach Tom Bradley.

“I’ve coached around 300 college games and only once when I’ve met the other coach at midfield prior to the game have I asked a photographer to take a picture of me with the other coach. That happened in the Citrus Bowl after the ’97 season when we were playing Penn State.” – South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier.

“Coach Paterno was far more than a football coach. He was a molder of young people, a teacher and a leader. He showed us all through the life he led that generosity, commitment, humility, respect and loyalty matter far more than wins and losses. We didn’t always understand his teachings at the time he shared them with us, but as we gained perspective we understood the significance of those teachings. Success with honor was more than a motto; it was a way of living, taught to all of us by an honorable, decent man. – Anthony Lubrano

“History will say that he’s one of the greatest. Who’s coached longer, who’s coached better, who’s won more games, who’s been more successful than Joe? Who’s done more for his university than Joe? You’ve lost one of the greatest. He probably means the same thing up there that Bear Bryant meant down here. He’s an icon.” — retired Florida State coach Bobby Bowden.

“The Penn State football program is one of college football’s iconic programs because it was led by an icon in the coaching profession in Joe Paterno. … To be following in his footsteps at Penn State is an honor.” Penn State coach Bill O’Brien.

“Penn State has lost its heart” Adam Taliaferro

“You could have become a good football player at many places but you wouldn’t have become the man you are if you didn’t go to Penn State.” — former Penn State running back Mike Guman.

“My first thoughts about Joe are not as a coach because he was well beyond that. He was an educator and a teacher. He taught lessons, some about football, mostly about life. He taught us how to treat others and how to conduct life. He did it with his life.” — former Penn State linebacker Matt Millen.

“We came to Penn State as young kids and when we left there we were men and the reason for that was Joe Paterno.” — Lydell Mitchell, a star running back at Penn State from 1968 to 1972.

“Joe’s legacy will always be intact because we won’t let Joe’s legacy die.” – Lydell Mitchell

“It’s just sad because I think he died from other things than lung cancer. I don’t think that the Penn State that he helped us to become and all the principles and values and things that he taught were carried out in the handling of his situation.” — Mickey Shuler, a Penn State tight end from 1975 to 1977.

“His influence on me personally was a lot more far-reaching than the playing field. … Coach Paterno should be remembered and revered for his 61 years of service to the Penn State community, the many games and championships he won, and the positive influence he was.” — Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Paul Posluszny, who played at Penn State linebacker from 2003 to 2006.

“Coach Paterno had a great impact on my life, not only as a player, but as a person. He coached with an incredible amount of passion and integrity, and I am very proud to have played for one of the greatest coaches in sports. … You will never be forgotten.” – Sean Lee, Dallas Cowboys linebacker who played at Penn State from 2005-09.

“He believed in me as a competitive quarterback [and] he’s taken great care of me in all five of my years at Penn State,” “I am forever indebted to him and the Paterno family because they brought me in as one of their own.” “He was a man who taught us how to be men,” “He was very constant on making sure all of the players were responsible for all of their actions.” Daryl Clark

“I feel very honored and special to be a part of what he has done for the university,” Graham Zug

“As a parent, if you had a kid, you would feel comfortable and willing and you would want him to go to Penn State once you met coach Paterno,” Mickey Shuler Jr.

“I talked to him on his birthday (Dec. 21). He was a great man and a great friend. He lived by the rules. He made sure his players got good grades. He was about more than just football.” — George Perles, who coached against Paterno at Michigan State.

”When you think of college football and its tradition, you can’t help but picture those dark glasses, black shoes and plain uniforms that were his style and mark on Penn State.” — Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville.

“Whenever you recruited or played against Joe, you knew how he operated and that he always stood for the right things. Of course, his longevity over time and his impact on college football is remarkable. Anybody who knew Joe feels badly about the circumstances. I suspect the emotional turmoil of the last few weeks might have played into it.” – Nebraska athletic director and former coach Tom Osborne.

“I talked to him on his birthday (Dec. 21). He was a great man and a great friend. He lived by the rules. He made sure his players got good grades. He was about more than just football.” – George Perles, who coached against Paterno at Michigan State.

“(During recruiting,) Paterno was the only coach that didn’t talk about football. He talked about life and what life had to offer at State College. While I did not go there and went to Michigan State, he was the only coach to call me and wish me luck.” – former Michigan State wide receiver Nigea Carter.

“When you think of college football and its tradition, you can’t help but picture those dark glasses, black shoes and plain uniforms that were his style and mark on Penn State.” – Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville.

“We have lost a remarkable person and someone who affected the lives of so many people in so many positive ways. His presence will be dearly missed. His legacy as a coach, as a winner and as a champion will carry on forever.” – Urban Meyer, new coach at Ohio State.

 “Few people are responsible for building something that will last forever. … Coach Paterno was first and foremost an educator, whose immeasurable contributions to Penn State, the coaching profession and the entirety of college sports, will be felt permanently. That is the legacy of a great leader.” – Mike Krzyzewski, Duke basketball coach.

 “College football will be left with a major void because he has done so much for our game and for Penn State. … There will never be another Joe Paterno.” — Mack Brown, Texas coach

“What I remember about our days when we were both coaching is that Joe was very honest, he was a heckuva coach, and he was one of the outstanding coaches of all time. You can’t say that about every coach, but you darn sure can say that about Joe Paterno.” – Darrell Royal, former Texas coach

“We grieve for the loss of Joe Paterno, a great man who made us a greater university. His dedication to ensuring his players were successful both on the field and in life is legendary and his commitment to education is unmatched.” – Penn State board of trustees and university President Rodney Erickson.

“His legacy as the winningest coach in major college football and his generosity to Penn State as an institution and to his players, stand as monuments to his life. As both man and coach, Joe Paterno confronted adversities, both past and present, with grace and forbearance. His place in our state’s history is secure.” — Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett.

The Word of the Day – EXCELLENCE – Paterno

In Joe Paterno, The Word of the Day on January 23, 2012 at 10:00 am

“Excellence demands Sacrifice”


Joe Paterno

The Word of the Day – JOE PATERNO

In Joe Paterno, The Word of the Day on January 22, 2012 at 3:00 pm



“Success without honor is an unseasoned dish; it will satisfy your hunger, but it won’t taste good”

Joe Paterno

My JoePa Story – WE ARE PENN STATE!!!

In Joe Paterno on January 22, 2012 at 11:47 am

 I’m very saddened by the turn of events in Coach Joe Paterno’s health. This is such a sad day for all Penn State fans and followers. At the time I was living and coaching high school football in Florida. I had the opportunity to meet coach for the first time in 1994 when I took my first player to the Penn State football camp through Tom Bradley, who has become a friend over all these years. A few years later I had the opportunity to take my son, Billy Furman, and his friend Greg Adkins into the football building and have a picture taken with Coach that I later got signed and have cherished. I remember the day like it was yesterday. I was going to take the picture of Billy, Greg and Coach when Joe said to me, “Coach, do you want to get in the picture?” Of course I did, so he had a staff member take the picture so that I could be in it too. What a great moment! (I have the photo posted on my Facebook page, Philly Pressbox). I had the opportunity to meet Coach several other times over the years but the most exciting time was actually over the phone. It was 2001 and Penn State was again recruiting one of our players, Wayne Dickens, who ended up going to Auburn. Wayne was being recruited by Bob White and Larry Johnson and Bob had called me at my office to check on Wayne’s recruiting status. At that time Bob said, hang on a second Coach wants to talk to you. I proceeded to talk to Coach Paterno for 15 minutes. During that time we talked about everything except for football for the first 13 minutes. He wanted to know how my family was doing, how it was in Florida and of course how the weather was. We spent the last 2 minutes talking about Wayne and his recruitment to Penn State. It was a great time to be talking to someone who you think you’ll never have an opportunity to actually feel like you’re spending time with other than a handshake. I only met Coach once after that but those memories will never be forgotten.

The two other things I will remember most about the impact Coach Paterno had on me was the people who I met that were directly impacted by Coach. The first year I went to the camp I took one of our players, Keydrick Vincent, to the camp. Keydrick was 6’5” and 340 lbs at the time so obviously you could see him. He ended up going to Ole Miss and playing in the NFL for 10 seasons. When we were on the small plane between State College and Pittsburgh on the way back Matt Suhey was on that plane. When we got to Pittsburgh Matt waiting for us to get off the plane and spoke to us for 10 minutes. He spoke about his PSU experience and about his experience with the Bears and playing in the same backfield with Walter Payton. When Matt walked away I remember Keydrick saying, “Oh my God that was Matt Suhey of the Bears and he’s the coolest guy I ever met”. Talk about impact on an 18-year-old. I know Keydrick never forgot it through his years in the NFL. I also have had a chance to meet John Cappelletti on various occasions. Cappy is always talking about the values he learned from Coach and PSU. I’ve become friends with Adam Taliaferro over the last few years. Most people know Adam’s story but don’t know the person. Adam credits Coach Paterno, his parents and Penn State University for his success as an attorney and involvement in many charitable groups. Adam wants to and is going to make a difference in people’s lives. The list goes on and on but I think the way the PSU football staff handled themselves says all that needs to be said. Anything less than be a first class professional when dealing with high school coaches and players was unacceptable. Coat and tie when visiting high schools was mandatory but the actions and the impression about what to expect academically and in college life was put ahead of what to expect on the football field. The final impact that I feel is the actions of the PSU fans either at home or on the road. There is nothing like a road trip to Beaver Stadium for a football game with all out tailgating. It’s an event like no other. If you’ve never been part of it you have no idea what you’re missing. Visitors can come to Happy Valley, walk College Avenue and go to any local establishment and know they’re going to have a good time and not have to worry about the actions of fans. When the massive Penn State road show heads out everyone knows they’ll be first class fans. It is all a part of the foundation that was laid by Coach Paterno as he built the football program and the university over 45 years as head football coach.

Coach proved that the Grand Experiment can work. Quality athletes can be great people as well as great athletes. Many have become very successful in their personal lives outside of football because they were good students who were held to academic standards like every other student. Coach Paterno led the charge that made 10’s of thousands proud to say “WE ARE PENN STATE”.

Last on this list but surely the reason he was able to build the program he has is his 409 career wins, more than any other major college football coach. Coach really didn’t care about all of records. As far as he was concerned it was important to him how it affected his players and his coaches and fans. Being able to brag that you were a Nittany Lions fan was a special place to be. Whether you were in Gator Country, Seminole Country, Alabama, Tennessee or anywhere else in the country a PSU conversation always led to every fans respect for Joe Paterno as a great coach and a great person who coached college football the right way.

Coach, you will be missed by all of Penn State fans and all fans around the country.




In Philadelphia 76ers on January 21, 2012 at 10:44 am

Is it possible that we’re really talking about the Sixers, or as I prefer the 76ers, in mid-January? The team is off to an 11-4 start and already has a 5 game lead over the New York Knicks and 5 ½ over the hated Boston Celtics. Does anybody really care? Well fans care when teams win and the crowds with start packing in the Wells Fargo Center if the team continues to compete. With that said they visit the Miami Heat and LeBron James and Chris Bosh tonight. The Heat will be playing without Dwayne Wade but it didn’t matter Thursday night when they blew out Kobe Bryant and the Lakers. This will be a big early season test for the 76ers to use as a measuring stick of where they are. The schedule over the next 6 games is favorable for the team to pad they’re 1st place lead. After the Heat game the next 5 are at home against Washington, last in the Southeast, the Nets, next to last in the Atlantic, Charlotte, next to the last in the Southeast, Detroit, last in the Central before 1st Place in the Southeast Orlando Magic and Dwight Howard come to town. If they come out of the next 6 with a 4-2 record they’ll be in good shape. The important thing is they either need to beat Miami or Orlando to prove they can compete at the highest level. Unfortunately you don’t win all of the games you’re supposed to so they’ll likely drop at least one of the middle 4 games.

How are they doing it? Head Coach Doug Collins, an all-around really good guy, has the team playing as a TEAM without a superstar. That’s tough to imagine in professional sports and especially in the NBA where teams try to stockpile big name individuals. The big differences are D-E-F-E-N-S-E and playing fundamentally sound ball every night. They are giving up only 86.7 points per game, 2nd in the league and holding opponents to 41.3% shooting from the field, 4th in the league. They are also leading the league in steals differential. That will win games!!

On offense the team has 7 players averaging between 10.3 and 15.1 ppg while having only 2 players averaging over 30 minutes per game. This will pay big dividends as the long grueling season moves on. As a team, they are 3rd in the league in scoring at 100.7 ppg trailing only Miami and Denver. They are 1st in the league in Points Scored/Points Allowed with a 13.6 ppg differential and are 4th in the league in rebounding. Collins continuous preaching good fundamental basketball on both ends of the court has the 76ers believing in the concept and winning ball games.

Individually the scoring leaders are Lou Williams, 15.1, Jrue Holiday, 14.9, Andre Iguodala, 14.3, Thaddeus Young, 12.9, Evan Turner, 10.4, Spencer Hawes, 10.4 and Elton Brand 10.3ppg. Hawes is averaging 8.9 rebounds and Brand 7.4.

Let’s hope that this is the year, but only time will tell if the 76ers can compete with the elite teams in the league. It’s been since the 2002-03 since the team has gotten out of the 1st round of the playoffs and hasn’t reached the finals since Allen Iverson led them to the finals in 2000-01. Collins took Eddie Jordan’s 2009-10, 27-55 team and improved it to 41-41 last season. It seems 50 wins this year could happen and if so this T-E-A-M should win the Atlantic division.

It’s time for the 76ers and basketball to matter again in Philadelphia. Let see what happens in the next 6 games.


In Pro Football on January 20, 2012 at 9:10 am

I’m working in our office in Cranberry Township PA, 20 miles north of Pittsburgh, this week. Obviously this is Steelers country. I was at lunch yesterday with three work buddies so of course the conversation was about the NFL playoffs. It was very enlightening being from Philly and them being from Pittsburgh. The conversation started with, “”I don’t care who wins because I hate both the Patriots and the Ravens but despise the Ravens and everything about them.” I thought I was talking to my buddies about the Cowgirls, oops, Cowboys and the “Little “ Giants. The conversation went something like this. “I can’t stand Ray Lewis or anything about him. I hate him but he’s still a pretty good player” and “Joe Flacco is horrible, he might be the worst QB in the league”. That led me to say, “There is no QB any worse than Eli Manning unless you’re talking about Tony Romo”. The reply was “are you kidding me, Eli is the most clutch QB in the league in the 4th quarter, check the stats”. I didn’t because I’ve seen him play too many times. I don’t call tossing balls in the air to be caught by David Tyree on his helmet and jump balls in the end zone clutch. That discussion was followed up with this gem, “why is it that Tom Brady is so great? He can beat everybody except the Steelers. If it weren’t for the Ravens being the Ravens I’d hate Brady more than anybody”. Seriously? As usual it was a great time for a sports debate that was clearly being looked at from very different perspectives. It’s amazing what 300 miles across the turnpike can do for ones perspective.

On to this weekends Championship games.

Ravens at Patriots. If I were a betting man, which I’m not, I’d take the Pats to win and the Ravens to cover the 7 ½ points. I think this could be a great game. The way to stop the Patriots is to pressure Brady all day long but to do that the Ravens defense will have to take chances in man-to man coverage. With the Patriots tight end combination of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez and the underneath crossing routes by Wes Welker it will be difficult to match up. Linebackers can’t cover these guys so the Ravens better get to Brady and do it quick. If he has time to sit in the pocket he’s unstoppable. Matt Light protecting against Tyrell Suggs will be a great matchup to watch. Both are among the best at their job. For the Ravens they have to have a big game from Ray Rice and not turn the ball over on offense. Snow is on the way to Foxboro on Saturday but Sunday temperatures are expected to be 35 degrees. It looks like a great day for football.

“Little” Giants at 49ers. My bias has to come out on this one because I wouldn’t pick the Little Giants if they were playing anybody except maybe Dallas. With that said Manning is probably playing the best football of his career. Hakeem Nicks has been unbelievable. The key for me is Ahmad Bradshaw. They are so much better when they can team Bradshaw with Brandon Jacobs. I can’t figure out how their defense can come alive in the playoffs because they’re not that good. The defensive line has been over rated since they had Michael Strahan. Osi Umenyiora is a New York media publicity stunt. Justin Tuck is over rated. They have gotten a great season from Jason Pierre-Paul. I’m just not a believer in the Little Giants. In order for the Giants to win they have to run the ball consistently with Bradshaw and Jacobs and minimize Manning in 3rd and long situations where he’s prone to turn the ball over. As for the 49ers they have to be able to run the ball with Frank Gore and not have to put the game in the hands of Alex Smith. Smith was huge last week but he’s not Joe Montana or Steve Young in that Niners uniform. On defense the Niners have to have big games from the outstanding linebacker group led by Patrick Willis and Navarro Bowman (another great Penn State LB). By the way, Justin Smith is a beast on the defensive line. I’ll take the 49ers at home giving the 2.5 points. The 49ers will win on the foot of David Akers. Remember him Philly fans? They are calling for game time temperatures of 53 degrees with afternoon rains.

Let the great debate begin! I wonder what my Pittsburgh buddies think the results will be. I think they like the Little Giants and anybody playing the Ravens.

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