"Roughing the Passer - A PK Frazier Novel"

My new book, "Offsetting Penalties - A PK Frazier Novel" is the follow-up to "Illegal Procedure" and "Roughing the Passer" and is now available in print and in e-formats at amazon.com, smashwords.com and iBooks. Follow me on twitter @kevinkrest.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

WEDNESDAY MUSINGS: MUSBERGER HEADING TO VEGAS, ROETHLISBERGER NURSING HIS WOUNDS, JAMES LOOKING FOR HELP, TIGER'S BACK

Hear my recent interview with legendary sports agent Leigh Steinberg, where we discussed his agency, concussions, franchise relocation and philanthropy at http://thechtonsports.com/cold-hard-truth-sports-radio-show-1242017/

Also listen to our conversation with author and sports journalist Mike Carey, as we discussed his latest book "Bad News" about Marvin Barnes and reminisced about Mike's coverage of the Boston Celtics during their glory years with Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Danny Ainge and Robert Parish. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/golongmedia/2017/02/08/the-cold-hard-truth-on-sports-radio-show

Brent Musberger Leaving Play By Play Duties: I was a freshman in college in 1975 and the first weekend at school was the beginning of the NFL season. As Redskins fans, my dorm mates and I huddled around a small black and white television to tune into what we thought would be another boring pre-game show on CBS, at that time the network that broadcast the NFC games. But instead, we heard a new voice say "You're looking live at RFK Stadium in Washington, DC" and instantly knew something very different was happening and 12:30 pm on Sundays would never be the same. Musberger, along with Irv Cross and former Miss America Phyllis George brought an entertainment aspect to the program that mesmerized the nation. The host was young, dynamic, smart and captivating. Irv Cross brought a player's perspective and Phyllis George brought, well, Phyllis George. One year later, Jimmy "The Greek" Snyder would be the first to actually pick games against the spread, something we take for granted today. The groundbreaking show was our introduction to one of the most enduring sports broadcasting figures in history. Today, ESPN announced that Tuesday night's Kentucky - Georgia basketball game on the SEC Network would be the last broadcast for legendary announcer Brent Musberger. Whether it was football, tennis, basketball, baseball or golf, Musberger brought something special to the big events on CBS until he was fired in 1990. He didn't miss a beat, quickly ending up at ABC and shortly thereafter on ESPN as part of the Disney tandem of networks. When I think of iconic broadcasters, it's a pretty short list. Vin Scully, Pat Summerall, Keith Jackson, Al Michaels, Verne Lundquist and Brent Musberger immediately come to mind. Initially, he added tremendous value to the network for his ability to pitch prime time programming, making each new show sound like the one that would literally change your life. Later, it was his preparation and professionalism that were particularly noticeable to me. Put me at a table with Keith, Al, Verne, Brent, Vin and a couple of bottles of wine and I wouldn't wish for anything else for the rest of my life. The stories those guys could tell must be amazing. But unlike Keith Jackson and Vin Scully, Musberger isn't retiring, but instead heading to Las Vegas to start a sports handicapping business. I guess he must have learned some secrets from Jimmy The Greek way back in the day, huh?

Big Ben Hinting At Retirement? Is Pittsburgh Steeler quarterback Ben Roethlisberger just frustrated and banged up after his team's loss to the New England Patriots in the AFC championship game, or is there more afoot here? Big Ben recently stated that he was going to reflect on this past season and  ponder the next one, if there was one. Given the amount of punishment Roethlisberger has endured over the course of his thirteen year career, it's not inconceivable that he could be pondering retirement. In an interview that I conducted with Leigh Steinberg earlier this week, he laid out a very grim picture of the damage repeated hits to the head inflict. With three young children, probably a pretty secure financial situation and his still moderately good health, is there really any reason for the two-time Super Bowl champ to return for more physical punishment? Only he knows the answer to that question, but it really wouldn't surprise me if Big Ben decided to hang it up. In a recent article in "Sports Illustrated", Roethlisberger was portrayed as someone who tolerated more than sought the spotlight. If his competitive drive has been diminished, what else does he need to prove? His resume is probably already worthy of consideration for the Hall of Fame. Is the preparation necessary to get ready for another grueling 16 game season worth placing himself at risk for serious personal injury?

Help Wanted: Backup Guard for Lebron James: Apparently, Cleveland Cavalier great Lebron James is a bit frustrated that his team has lost four of their last six games, with the superstar forced to play excessive minutes in the process. Before the season, you see, guard Matthew Dellavedova accepted a nice offer from the Milwaukee Bucks and since then small forward J.R. Smith has gone down with an injury, leaving only Kyrie Irving and Lebron to distribute the basketball. The trade deadline is less than a month away, but that's still plenty of time for Cavs' GM David Griffin to make a deal. I guess Lebron is wanting to make sure the guys in the front office have a clear picture of the needs of the team. Really? This is a GM that has done a pretty good job of getting the right pieces to the puzzle, including signing and keeping Kevin Love, bringing in the now injured Smith and adding a role player or two along the way. Center Chris "Birdman" Anderson, who was with The King in Miami, would have given the team better rebounding, but he's out for the season with a torn ACL. On this morning's "Mike and Mike Show" on ESPN, Stephen A. Smith was critical of James for being so public with his frustration because it would just drive up the price of any players that Griffin chose to work a trade for. I tend to agree. It's one thing to speculate what your trading partner's urgency is, another to know with certainty that they're desperate to appease the best player on the planet so they have a shot at a second consecutive title, probably having to face either the Warriors or Spurs in the Finals. My feeling is, inflated value or not, Griffin and owner Dan Gilbert will find a way to get one or more deals done to bring much needed help to ensure James gets to his seventh consecutive Finals, if not capturing another championship.

Tiger Woods: New Clubs, New Swing: Even at the age of 41, Tiger Woods is still indisputably the biggest draw in golf. It's been a year and a half since he last teed it up in an official tour event, and you'd think from today's coverage that he was the only guy in the field. Regular readers of my blog will know I'm unabashedly a huge Woods fan, primarily because I focus on action on the course, field and court. The former number one in the world and winner of fourteen majors brings a new swing and a new club sponsor to Torre Pines for the Farmer's Insurance Open. Woods announced today that he has signed with Taylor Made to play their metal woods, irons and wedges. He'll continue to wear his Tiger Woods branded Nike apparel, but the deal has to be a shot in the arm for Taylor Made. The clubs aren't the only thing new about his game. Tiger's swing is clearly less violent, which should place significantly less stress on his surgically repaired back. I'm not expecting a lot from Woods this week, a made cut probably the most he can hope for, if for no other reason than to be able to get four competitive rounds under his belt. He tees off at 1:40 pm EST Thursday, and I'm betting The Golf Channel alters their coverage to make sure his first tee shot is shown live. Nothing against Jordan, Jason, Dustin, Rory, Justins (Rose and Thomas) and the other young guns, but it's good to have Tiger Woods back on tour.

Don't forget to check out my new book, "Offsetting Penalties - A PK Frazier Novel" at  Amazon.com and listen to me Friday's at 8:40 am EDT/ 7:40 am CDT on Lou in the Morning, streaming live on www.WPFLradio.com, 105.1 FM. I can also be reached via email at kevin@pkfrazier.com.