Sabol leads a stellar 2011 Pro Football Hall of Fame Class

You can expect a film crew like a Hollywood movie set this summer in Canton, Ohio  when pro football documenting  legend Ed Sabol of NFL Films and 6 other members of the 2011 Pro Football Hall of Fame class are inducted

Come this summer, the ranks of the Pro Football Hall of Fame will increase to 260 members.  The PHOF’s 44-member Selection Committee –- probably after some contenious moments — decided that that the greatest fraternity in sports should grow by seven new members.

In a new format that really added to the drama of the selection process, the new “Gold Jacket” brigade were announced live in primetime on NFL Network. I thought the selection committee did a great job in putting together an A-list enshrinee class that will surely fill Canton, Ohio come this summer.  Of course this non-voting scribe was pleasantly surprised that I got 5 of 7 picks right in my predictions — still have questions about Willie Roaf missing out though.

Unfortunately for another year some great names were left on the sidelines, like receivers Cris Carter, Andre Reed, and Tim Brown.  Also it had to pain first timers Jerome Bettis and Curtis Martin to not get in this time around as their phone never rang either – checkout my Top 10 list of players deserving to be in the Hall of Fame from a few years ago….Thankfully 3 people on the list are now in.  However I believe many of these NFL legends will soon get their day in the sun at Fawcett Stadium, but it just won’t be this year. 

I was probably most personally happy for Ed Sabol (94) of NFL Films.  As someone that has worked with his venerable organization on more than a few projects, I have to emphatically say that his ground-breaking work deserved the recognition.  If you ever want to know where the “flame” of the NFL lives, take a pilgrimage to Mount Larel, NJ . The patriarch and his son, Steve, through infinite miles of tape – ever since bidding $3,000 dollars to film the 1962 NFL Championship Game — have documented the journey of the National Football League from it’s crewcut rustbelt roots to the multiemedia giant that you see today.  Almost everything you see in filming sports started with the Sabol’s.  Ed will go into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a “contributor”, which is a title that really doesn’t give him and NFL Films the credit that they deserve.

Alright that is enough debating, lamenting, and singling out as now it is time to celebrate the entire enshrinement 2011 class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

  • Richard Dent – Defensive End – 1983-1993, 1995 Chicago Bears, 1994 San Francisco 49ers, 1996 Indianapolis Colts, 1997 Philadelphia Eagles
  • Marshall Faulk – Running Back – 1994-1998 Indianapolis Colts, 1999-2005 St. Louis Rams
  • *Chris Hanburger – Linebacker – 1965-1978 Washington Redskins
  • *Les Richter – Kicker, Middle Guard, Middle Linebacker —  1954-1962 LA Rams
  • Ed Sabol – Contributor (NFL Films), who has been associated with the league since 1966
  • Deion Sanders – Cornerback, Return man, Wide Receiver –  1989-1993 Atlanta Falcons, 1994 San Francisco 49ers, 1995-1999 Dallas Cowboys, 2000 Washington Redskins, 2004-2005 Baltimore Ravens
  • Shannon Sharpe – Tight End – 1990-99, 2002-03 Denver Broncos, 2000-01 Baltimore Ravens

 

 

Lloyd Vance is a Sr. NFL Writer for Taking It to the House and Sports Journey Network , who is also an award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)

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2011 Pro Football Hall of Fame Predictions

When the names are announced for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2011 on Saturday February 5th , Taking It to the House believes that contributor Ed Sabol (NFL Films founder) will be on the list

Super Bowl XLV is right around the corner as the Steelers and Packers are preparing to do battle.  But one of the bigger events of Super Bowl week is almost upon us too, as the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2011 will be announced on Saturday, February 5th.  Being a historian of the game, I absolutely love the Pro Football Hall of Fame inductions each July.  But each year when the classes are announced at the Super Bowl the controversy soon follows.

I am sure their will be some cantankerous moments when the PHOF’s 44-member Selection Committee try to decide on the inductees. No matter the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s fraternity will grow beyond it’s current 253 members as at least four and up to seven worthy candidates will be selected to the PHOF from the list of 17 finalists.

The 2011 Pro Football Hall of Fame 17 finalists (15 Modern-Era and two Senior Nominees*) with their positions, teams, and years include:           

  • Jerome Bettis – Running Back – 1993-1995 LA/STL Rams, 1996-2005 Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Tim Brown – Wide Receiver/Kick Returner – 1988-2003 Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders, 2004 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Cris Carter – Wide Receiver – 1987-89 Philadelphia Eagles, 1990-2001 Minnesota Vikings, 2002 Miami Dolphins
  • Dermonti Dawson – Center – 1988-2000 Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Richard Dent – Defensive End – 1983-1993, 1995 Chicago Bears, 1994 San Francisco 49ers, 1996 Indianapolis Colts, 1997 Philadelphia Eagles
  • Chris Doleman – Defensive End – 1985-1993 & 1999 Minnesota Vikings, 1994-1995 Atlanta Falcons, 1997-1998 San Francisco 49ers,
  • Marshall Faulk – Running Back – 1994-1998 Indianapolis Colts, 1999-2005 St. Louis Rams
  • Charles Haley – Defensive End/Linebacker – 1986-1991, 1999 San Francisco 49ers, 1992-96 Dallas Cowboys
  • *Chris Hanburger – Linebacker – 1965-1978 Washington Redskins
  • Cortez Kennedy – Defensive Tackle – 1990-2000 Seattle Seahawks
  • Curtis Martin – Running Back – 1995-1997 New England Patriots, 1998 – 2005 New York Jets
  • Andre Reed – Wide Receiver – 1985-1999 Buffalo Bills, 2000 Washington Redskins
  • *Les Richter – Kicker, Middle Guard, Middle Linebacker —  1954-1962 LA Rams
  • Willie Roaf – Offensive Tackle – 1993–2005 New Orleans Saints
  • Ed Sabol – Contributor (NFL Films), who has been associated with the league since 1966
  • Deion Sanders – Cornerback, Return man, Wide Receiver –  1989-1993 Atlanta Falcons, 1994 San Francisco 49ers, 1995-1999 Dallas Cowboys, 2000 Washington Redskins, 2004-2005 Baltimore Ravens
  • Shannon Sharpe – Tight End – 1990-99, 2002-03 Denver Broncos, 2000-01 Baltimore Ravens

Alright here is my best guess at predicting whom will join the greatest sports fraternity of them all in my opinion.  To me all of the candidates are worthy and I believe that there even might be a couple of other guys missing from the list — checkout my Top 10 list of players deserving to be in the Hall of Fame for some of the players that I felt should be in Canton.  It will be interesting to see whom my fellow PFWA members vote-in when they get in the room.

1. Deion Sanders – This is a no-brainer.  Yes…Prime Time was a showboat, wasn’t a physical tackler, and rubs some fans the wrong way.  But there is no denying that this man defined a “Shutdown Corner”.  Sanders was a tremendous athlete that had track sprnter’s speed, a short memory, and the swagger of a rock star.  Say what you want, Deion backed it up on the field.  Even in his later years after coming out of retirement to play for the Baltimore Ravens, this 8-time Pro Bowler and 6-time First-Team All-Pro could match-up with any NFL receiver.  And don’t forget Prime maybe the NFL’s greatest punt returner too. He truly was “Too Legit, To Quit”!   Finished his career with 53 INTs including an NFL record 9 going to the house.

2. Marshall Faulk – This one is a layup too as none of the other RB’s up for selection this season could do so many things, so well on the football field.  Faulk was a running back, who could block, catch, and run with almost anyone in NFL History.  The former San Diego State star, who should have won the Heisman (but that is another story), was the engine that made Dick Vermeil’s Greatest Show on Turf offense go.  This 7-time Pro Bowler and 3-time First-Team All-Pro left the NFL with a league record 19,154 combined rushing and receiving yards (12,279 rushing and 6,875 receiving) .  A former Rookie of the Year, MVP and Super Bowl winner….Faulk is in.

3. Shannon Sharpe – I can’t believe we are still having this conversation. This is a no-brainer, in my opinion.  This former lanky too slow receiver from Savannah State, who became one of the greatest tight ends ever, deserves to get into the Hall of Fame.  I know the loquacious Sharpe, who now works as a CBS analyst, can plead his own case for the Hall.  But his resume really speaks volumes with his 815 career receptions for 10,060 receiving yards and 62 touchdowns, which all were NFL career records for tight ends at the time of his retirement 5 years ago. The man longer known simply as Sterling’s little brother had a career that included 8 Pro Bowls, 3 Super Bowls rings (two Broncos and one with the Ravens) and 5 selections All-Pro.  Move over Mike Ditka and John Mackey as a new tight end joins your ranks.

4. Willie Roaf – If you needed to get 1-yard, running behind big Willie would be a good option.  This big physical offensive tackle, who defined the position in the 1990’s deserves to be in the PHOF.  Roaf was a massive man blessed with quick hands and good feet that cleared the way for running backs like Mario Bates, Ricky Williams, Deuce McAllister, and others.  This 11-time Pro Bowler and 3-time First-Team All-Pro was a quarterback’s best friend too as he held his own against NFL legends, like Reggie White. 

 5. Chris Hanburger – An old-school stay at home and make the tackle linebacker will finally get his due.  Hanburger is being nominated as a Seniors Committee candidate, but he should have been recognized a long time ago.  Played in a steady leadership type way throughout his distinguished 14-year career, all with the Washington Redskins.  He was the glue of George Allen’s great Over-the-Hill Gang defenses of the 1970’s.  Was an intregal part of Washington’s 1972 Super Bowl runner-up team.  This 9-time Pro Bowler & 4-time First-Team All-Pro finished with 19 INTs and 17 fumble recoveries in his career.

6. Ed Sabol – If you ever want to know where the history of the NFL lives, take a pilgrimage to Mount Larel, NJ . The patriarch of venerable organization, NFL Films, has been associated with the league since filming Super Bowl I back in 1966 and definitely deserves to be selected as a “contributor” into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.   Sabol and his son, Steve, have helped make the National Football League into a national media treasure with their breath-taking films that bring the heart  and soul of Pro Football to life.  It would be a travesty, if Ed Sabol does not get his day in the sun, this summer in Canton, Ohio.

7. Charles Haley – A dominating force at the defensive end position who won 5 Super Bowl rings.  Haley was a two-way end that quarterbacks feared and was equally stout against the run.  Though quiet off the field, this former small school find (James Madison) was a ferious game-breaker in getting to the quarterback and making big plays.  Though I still believe that Deacon Jones and Reggie White were the two greatest pass rushers of all time, Haley should join them as he was one of the greatest sack masters from the 1990’s. This 5-time Pro Bowler and 2-time First-Team All-Pro finished his distinguished career with 100.5 sacks and 26 forced fumbles.

 

Lloyd Vance is a Sr. NFL Writer for Taking It to the House and Sports Journey Network , who is also an award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)

Super Bowl XLV From a Beer Perspective

Well… it is almost “Super Bowl Sunday” with an expected record television audience of 106 million viewers tuning-in to watch the Steelers and Packers play for the NFL’s biggest prize. 

But before we head to breaking down the game, we have to take a detour around America’s Unofficial Holiday’s other favorite topic, beer.  Good Friend of the site, Bryan Kolesar of TheBrewLounge.com, weighs in with some tasty beer selections for this coming Super Bowl Sunday.

This year’s contenders play in States rich in both brewing history and the current craft brewing renaissance.

The Packers play only 120 miles north of sudsy Milwaukee, just a few more miles northeast from Madison’s craft brewing mecca, and in a stadium that pours beer from the highly sought after New Glarus Brewing Company.

In downtown Green Bay, the appropriately named Titletown Brewing Company serves up hearty Wisconsin fare of cheese curds, pan-fried walleye, and half-pound burgers alongside solid brews like Railyard Altbier, Johnny Blood Red Ale, Hopasaurus Rex IPA, and Kurty’s Hop Monster to keep the fans from becoming part of the Frozen Tundra.

While the Packers play geographically in the Midwest, Pittsburgh fans are much more East Coast in their attitude and passionate pursuit of their Steelers. Beer-wise, though, these city-regions are much more similar. Pittsburgh also enjoys a rich history of brewing and has experienced its own revival of good locally-made craft beer over the past twenty years. In and around Pittsburgh, great beer can be found in a former church, at a pub by a creek, in a vacant industrial building on the “other side of the tracks, in the hippest neighborhoods, and in a 150-year old historic former brewery.

With that bit of brief background aside, it’s on to the game and the beer you could be drinking. Following is a guide to help navigate your thirst through the minimum four-hour affair that most Super Bowl games and the parties that you might attend will span. The beer in your glass will largely depend upon your location and your taste for beer.

I’m a beer guy, a craft beer guy at that. So when it comes to non-craft/macro beer I’ll throw some suggestions out there, but I can’t make any promises! My recommendation is to look for the more interesting craft beers and save yourself the mind-numbing regret the next day.

Any of the beers listed in this piece will go well with football snacks like, Kelley’s Buffalo Chicken Dip, but LV or as you know him “NFL Writer Lloyd Vance” will have more on Super Bowl Recipes soon.

Pre-game: There’s no point in embarrassing yourself before the game begins. Therefore, pre-game beers should be relatively lower in alcohol to keep you out of trouble and arguments. Plus, if you are filling out last-minute pools, you’ll need a clear head.

in Green Bay: Pick up a fresh growler of Titletown Brewing’s Canadeo Gold (German-style Kölsch, 4.5% ABV), a low alcohol, mildly fruity beer named after Packer great, Tony Canadeo.

in Pittsburgh: Head to church, Church Brew Works that is, and grab a six-pack of crisp and refreshing Celestial Gold (German-style Pilsner, 4.1% ABV). Say a prayer for your Steelers while you’re there.

in Dallas for the game: Stop near the stadium in Arlington, Texas at BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse for a great tasting Brewhouse Blonde (German-style Kölsch, 4.7% ABV)

mostly anywhere in the U.S. (craft): This one from Sierra Nevada weighs in a bit heftier than the other pre-game selections here, but with the smooth maltiness of the Glissade (Helles Bock, 6.4% ABV) and the hop flavor undercurrent, it makes for a nice pre-game beer for those looking for just a little something extra to get the party started.

mostly anywhere in the U.S. (macro): Toast the brewing history of Wisconsin with a Miller Lite (American Light Lager, 4.2% ABV). It’s true that it’s less-filling and low in alcohol, but it lacks much in the way of flavor as well—which for many people, is just fine for the entire game.

First Half: The first half is when we all stand the best chance of paying some level of attention to the television, if not for the game, then for the commercials. At this point, you’ll want a beer that tastes great, but not one that is too distracting with complex flavors. Plus, you’ll likely have a menagerie of flavors on your plate of food, so grab a beer with a little alcohol and some solid hop flavor to kick off the game and your team spirit.

in Green Bay: Stop in at Hinterland, a Green Bay brewpub since 1995 and now on the guest list at the White House for the Super Bowl, and grab a pint of the solid malt-driven Pale Ale (American Pale Ale, 5.5% ABV) that delivers a noticeable hit of bitter hops.

in Pittsburgh: Head to the UK-themed Piper’s Pub in the Southside neighborhood for a glass of the wonderfully malty and hoppy Victory HopDevil (American IPA, 6.7% ABV). Victory’s from Eagles country on the other side of the state, but in the world of beer, Steelers fans happily drink it too.

in Dallas for the game: At most better beer bars around the region, you should be able to find a beer from one of Austin’s newer breweries, Live Oak. Try an IPA (American IPA, 6.0% ABV).

mostly anywhere in the U.S. (craft): Brooklyn Brewery has been making the East India Pale Ale (6.9% ABV) for over 15 years and this pleasantly hoppy beer makes it a versatile winner alone or with food.

mostly anywhere in the U.S. (macro): Michelob makes a Pale Ale (5.5% ABV) and a Rye Pale Ale (5.9% ABV) worth seeking out for their pleasant hop bitterness.

Half Time Show: These mid-game displays are barely enjoyable for most people to watch. So, why not take this opportunity to grab a large 750ml bottle of special beer and share it amongst your group? This may be the last time before the game is over that you’ll have a chance to really focus on tasting your beer. If the desserts have been put out by this point, you may want to try a beer that accentuates the possibilities of fruit with beer.

in Green Bay: In Wisconsin, there may be no beer more celebrated for working with fruit than the wonderfully alternating sweet and tart cherry Wisconsin Belgian Red (4.0% ABV). There is over a pound of Door County Cherries in every bottle.

in Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh has several hot dog and beer-themed shops, one of the best known being D’s Six Pax and Dogz and its large beer cave from which to buy take-home beer. Find a bottle of Love Child (Belgian-style Tripel, 10.0% ABV) from northwestern Pennsylvania’s Voodoo Brewery and experience beer aged on tart cherries, raspberries, and passion fruit.

in Dallas for the game: Stop by Central Market, just north of Dallas, and pick up a Belgian beer, heavy on the cherries, like Kasteel Rouge (8.0% ABV).

mostly anywhere in the U.S. (craft): Try finding either Black and Blue (10.00% ABV and fermented with blackberries and blueberries) or Fort (18.0% ABV and brewed with raspberries) from Dogfish Head for a nearly unmatched fruit beer experience.

mostly anywhere in the U.S. (macro): No macro brewer is doing anything with fruit beers nearly as interesting as any of these other brewers just mentioned. However, if you can’t stray from the familiar brewer names, you might try Anheuser-Busch’s Wild Blue Blueberry Lager (8.0%). I can’t vouch for it, but I’ve heard a few people claim that it’s “okay”.

Second Half: At this point, the game is going one of two ways. It’s either competitive and enjoyable to watch or it’s becoming a lopsided blowout. You’re either really into the game or the party is really kicking into high gear and you’re looking to empty the cooler. The average point spread over the last ten Super Bowls has been ten points, with six of them being decided by a touchdown or less. So, you’re likely to be grabbing for another less complex and relatively lower alcohol beer to get you through to the end of the game.

in Green Bay: Sprecher beer is available in 23 states, but you’ll find it no where fresher than in Wisconsin. Try the delightfully rich and roasty Black Bavarian (Black Lager, 5.9% ABV).

in Pittsburgh: Penn Brewery is brewing in high gear again after some ownership shakeups over the past couple of years. Try their slightly sweet, slightly hoppy Penn Dark (Munich Dunkel Lager, 5.0% ABV) which tastes as good as ever.

in Dallas for the game: Shiner Bock, from Spoetzl Brewery in southern Texas, is available and widely recognized both in and out of Texas. Instead, while there, take the opportunity to try a less well-known Shiner 97 (Black Lager, 4.9% ABV).

mostly anywhere in the U.S. (craft): Sam Adams also makes a Black Lager-style beer, conveniently called Black Lager (4.9% ABV). It’s not as rich as the others listed here and is available across most of the U.S.

mostly anywhere in the U.S. (macro): Yuengling may not necessarily like to be  called a macro brewery, but the fact that they make a whole lot of beer available across nearly half the country makes them more macro than micro. But that doesn’t mean that their beers can’t be “craft-like”. Skip their Lager, and try their easy-drinking, but tasty and slightly chocolaty, Porter (4.7% ABV) and see if you agree.

Post-Game: After the game, you’re either getting ready for bed, heading out to drive home from the party, celebrating your team’s big win or soothing the pains from a tough loss. There are many different ways you could go here. Let’s assume that there’s no driving in your future and your team just won. You’re up for one last celebratory beer. You’ve likely drank many beers throughout the course of the night and your palate has taken quite a beating. Here are a few memorable beers to finish off the night.

 in Green Bay: If you head up to Green Bay from the south, be sure to stop around Madison or Milwaukee for four-packs of Ale Asylum’s Mercy (Belgian Strong Dark Ale, 9.5% ABV). This beer is packed with tremendous dark fruit flavors and a warming alcohol presence for those cold Green Bay nights.

in Pittsburgh: When in Pittsburgh and celebrating your team’s win, there may be no better place to be than in the Southside neighborhood favorite, Fat Heads, with a bottle of East End Gratitude (American-style Barleywine, 11.5% ABV).

in Dallas for the game: Stop by the Meddlesome Moth in Dallas’ Design District for a regional favorite, Real Ale Sisyphus (American-style Barleywine, 11.0% ABV)

mostly anywhere in the U.S. (craft): Stone Brewing recently blended its Arrogant Bastard, Oak-Aged Bastard, and Double Bastard to create an anniversary beer called Lukcy Basartd [sic] (American Strong Ale, 8.5% ABV). If you can’t find a bottle of this one-time release beer that brings about a mouthful of malt, hops, whiskey, and oak, just reach for any of the three component beers for an equally pleasing experience by themselves.

mostly anywhere in the U.S. (macro): I can’t bring myself to recommend a St. Ides or a Schlitz to you here just for the sake of a one-last end-of-night alcohol punch. Plus, there’s nothing that you could drink in this strong beer category that would go anywhere nearly as well with the possible food pairings that Mary is going to recommend as what I just listed.

 The Brew Lounge’s prediction: I’ve seen games at both Heinz Field and Lambeau Stadium, drank beer in both of their cities, and interacted with both fan bases. While the Pittsburgh fans deserve every one of the well-earned Super Bowl Championships, there may not be a nicer fan base in the world of American professional sports than that of the Green Bay Packers.

 Therefore, while Super Bowl XLV should be an entertaining and competitive game, I’m pulling for the Packers to finally get the Brett Favre monkey off their back.

Wherever you are and however you choose to celebrate, The Brew Lounge wishes you a fun Sunday with friends and family watching the Big Game and enjoying great food and beverage.

  

Bryan Kolesar is the editor of The Brew Lounge, a website dedicated to bringing tidbits from around the World of Craft Beer

Taking It to the House NFL Podcast – WCHE Interview 020211

In his weekly interview on the “Matt Lombardo Show” (1520 WCHE – West Chester, PA), NFL Insider Lloyd Vance breaks-down the news surrounding Super Bowl XLV, including the Philadelphia Eagles surprise choice for Defensive Coordinator, former O-line Coach Juan Castille

After some great action in the 2010 NFL Playoffs first three rounds, Super Bowl XLV in Arlington Texas will take center stage with the Pittsburgh Steelers facing the Green Bay Packers. NFL Insider Lloyd Vance makes his weekly appearance on the “Matt Lombardo Show” on 1520 WCHE – West Chester, PA including breaking down this year’s Super Bowl Match-up featuring two of the league’s brightest quarterbacks (Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers)