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Wednesday, 01 December 2010 03:52

Louisiana Sports: Jimmy Taylor’s Book, Brees, Hornets, Patrick Peterson, LSU

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Summary: Excerpt from biography by NFL football great, Jim Taylor. Brees’s defining moment; Superstar Patrick Peterson; Kudos to New Orleans Hornets   

Super Bowl I, Green Bay vs. Kansas City, Jan. 15, 1967

(This excerpt from Pro Football Hall of Fame fullback Jim Taylor's new book, "The Fire Within" was reprinted with permission from Triumph Books. For information, go to In this chapter the former LSU All-American recalls the first Super Bowl game).

The day before the championship game we were all at our hotel in Los Angeles. That afternoon Max McGee (former Tulane halfback) met a couple of stewardesses at the hotel bar and agreed to meet them later that night. He told Paul Hornung his situation, but Paul declined the offer. His shoulder was still bothering him, and he thought of having to pay thousands of dollars in fines for breaking curfew did  not interest him.

Hawg Hanner, a retired former Packer, was our  assistant coach. He was in charge of bed checks. The evening before the game, he stuck his head into Max and Paul's room to be sure they were in bed. Minutes after Hanner left the room, so did McGee.

Max returned the following morning just in time to see Bart Starr walking through the lobby. When McGee returned to his room, he asked Paul if he was safe.. Paul told him no. Max didn't take it to heart and decided to take an hour nap before boarding the bus for the game. 

There was no fanfare or worldwide creative advertising as there is today. The words Super Bowl didn't even have  the Roman numeral I after it.  It was just Super Bowl (actually, World Championship Game).


The game would be watched by the largest television audience ever to view a sports event -- more than 65 million people --  but inside the Memorial Coliseum it felt almost empty. The Coliseum holds 100,000 people. Only 61,946 showed up for the championship game. The most expensive ticket cost $12, yet the stadium was only two-thirds full. Pete Rozelle gave Ed Sabol (who at the time was the  president of NFL Films) 15 complimentary tickets. Ed, in turn, gave them to his cameramen to give out. The came back with five Super Bowl tickets they couldn't even give away.


Once the game had begun, Hornung and McGee sat next to each other on the bench. All of a sudden they heard the deafening sound of Lombardi's voice: "McGeeeeee!"


Max's initial thought was that it was over for him and that Lombardi would release him right then and there on the field.  But that was not the case. He had yelled for Max to get in the game, Boyd Dowler had tried to play, but his shoulder was still in so much pain from the Dallas game. All of a sudden, McGee had his eye on the '67 silver Corvette convertible that Sport magazine was giving to the MVP of the game.  In the next series, Max caugh{sidebar id=4}

caught a Starr pass for a 37-yard touchdown. He ended the day with seven catches for a total of 138 yards but it would be Starr who would win the MVP honors and drive away in the new silver Corvette.


Early in the second quarter both teams were tied at 7, but that would soon change. On third-and-five from our own 32, Starr passed to McGee for 10 yards, then to Dale for 15, then to Fleming for 11, He found Pitts in the flat and picked up 10 more, putting the ball on Kansas City's 14. From there I went to Starr's left, cut back behind blocks by Jerry Kramer and Fuzzy Thurston, and covered the 14 yards to put us ahead 14-7. That score also made me the first NFL player to score a rushing touchdown in a Super Bowl.  From that point on, we were never behind again.


During the game there was an incident between Kansas City defensive tackle Buck Buchanan and me. We exchanged a few words after Buchanan hit me with a forearm. I'd been thrown down before by bigger and stronger men. The play was over, the whistle had blown, and still he had to be a hero. I just turned my back and walked away from him.


Once Lombardi knew the game was ours, he sent in Zeke Bratkowski along with most of our second-stringers to give them the opportunity to play in a championship game.


The gun sounded to an anticlimactic game finish -- Packers 35, Kansas City 10 -- but it gave the Packers undisputed title to the world football crown.


Following the game, McGee officially retired. In the locker room he told the press, "Sayonara. It's a great game to quit on, and I quit!."


The 1967 Super Bowl was the last time I suited up in a Green Bay Packers uniform.

Drew Brees
After winning the SI award, Brees talked about being named the 2010 Sportsman of the Year.

He talked about some of the low points in his career and how they became "defining Moments."

He discussed being benched in 2003 in San Diego.  And suffering the shoulders injury later with the Chargers. He said they were tough, but made him the person he is today.

Brees said he really didn't understand what happened in New Orleans before he got here. "I had a chance to see it with my own eyes when I came to New Orleans in the spring of 2006," said Brees. "You sit there and say, 'I had no idea it was this bad."

Brees said Katrina and the BP Oil Spill have taught people on the Gulf Coast that they're going to take hits, but they can bounce back.

Brees said the Saints have a tough schedule ahead and that other teams in the NFC, including Atlanta, are playing very well. The Saints play the Falcons on Dec. 27 in the Georgia Dome.

New Orleans Hornets

Ian Thomsen,, wrote a 2,000-word feature on Chris Paul and the Hornets. He details why the Hornets are a contending team this season.

Last season, the Hornets won only 37 games and finished out of the playoffs. As of Monday morning, the Hornets are 12-4 and tied with San Antonio for second place behind the Lakers in the Southwest Division.

Thomsen's story explains this transformation by focusing  on all the changes the Hornets have made. The team has a new head coach and a new general manager. And of the 15 players who have taken the floor for the Hornets this season, only six were players on the team last season (and one of these just departed). With all these changes, one shouldn't be surprised to see the outcome on the floor has changed.

Although the Hornets have benefited from some good luck, it is also true that the team is better that what you saw last season.

A flurry of moves by new general manager Dell Demps has improved the front court and deepened the bench, which  new coach Monty Williams has transformed the high-scoring Hornets into a team that wins at the other end of the floor.

"The thing we're doing here is about our defense," said Chris Paul, who is enjoying the best team start of his six NBA seasons while averaging 34.4 minutes per game unlike the 43 he was averaging last season. "We don't necessarily have to rely on making shots and making plays every night. I scored 11 points or 13 points in three of those early wins and that says a lot about our team and what we're doing."

"The story deals with an ownership change. And most important of all, will  be a change in ownership with George Shinn eager to sell and minority owner Gary Chouest hesitant to  buy him out," writes Thomsen. "League sources say the board of governors recently discussed the possibility of the NBA temporarily buying the Hornets much as Major League baseball took control of the Montreal Expos before selling and moving them to Washington in 2005,

"'David Stern (NBA commissioner) I don't think  likes the idea of running organizations like this,' said Hornets president Hugh Weber, who believes Chouest will go through with his purchase of the team this season. We just continue to make changes, do things and make trades. We continue to work along and let the rumors and buzz happen."



 LSU’s  Patrick Peterson has been named to the American Football Coaches Association All-America team, the group announced on Monday.


Peterson, a junior from Pompano Beach, Fla., is one of four players from the Southeastern Conference on the team as he’s joined by South Carolina wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, Auburn offensive lineman Lee Ziemba, and Auburn quarterback Cam Newton.


The AFCA All-America team, established in 1945, is selected exclusively by the head football coaches in each division. It’s the only All-America team that is chosen specifically by coaches.


Peterson becomes the ninth first-team All-America selection at LSU under head coach Les Miles. He’s also the 67th first-team All-America selection in school history.


“This is tremendous and well-deserved honor for Patrick,” Miles said. “He truly is one of the best all-around players in college football and he’s a big reason for our success this year.”


Peterson excelled both as a cornerback and return specialist for the Tigers this year. Defensively, he played a key role for a Tiger unit that ranked in the top 10 in the nation in three categories – scoring defense (17.8), total defense (301.7) and pass defense (165.8).


Peterson finished the regular season with 36 tackles and he ranked fifth in the SEC in interceptions with four. He added 1.5 tackles for loss, six pass breakups and a blocked field goal.


As LSU’s return specialist, Peterson ranked second in the SEC and sixth in the nation in punt returns with a 16.1 average and he was second in the league and 10th in the country in kickoff returns with a 29.3 average. Peterson returned 26 punts for 418 yards and a pair of scores and he added 851 yards in kickoff returns. The 851 yards is the school record, while the 418 yards in punt returns ranks No. 6 in school history.


2010 AFCA?Coaches’ All-America Team


Pos         Name                                    Ht.           Wt.        Cl.           School                                   Hometown

WR          Justin Blackmon               6-1          205         So.          Oklahoma                          St.Ardmore,Okla. WR          Alshon Jeffery                      6-4          233        So.         South Carolina     St. Matthews, S.C.

TE           Lance Kendricks               6-4          241         Sr.          Wisconsin                            Milwaukee, Wis.

OL           Lee Ziemba                        6-8          319         Sr.          Auburn                                  Rogers, Ark.

OL           Rodney Hudson               6-2          282         Sr.         Florida St.                             Mobile, Ala.

C             Chase Beeler                       6-3          285        Sr.          Stanford                Jenks, Okla..

OL           Stefen Wisniewski           6-3          306        Sr.          Penn St.                  Bridgeville, Pa.

OL           Gabe Carimi                      6-7          327         Sr.           Wisconsin                           Cottage Grove, Wis.

QB          Cam Newton                      6-6          250        Jr.           Auburn                                   College Park, Ga.

RB           Kendall Hunter                 5-8          200        Sr.          Oklahoma St                         Tyler, Texas

RB           LaMichael James           5-9          185        So.          Oregon                      Texarkana, Texas



Pos         Name                                    Ht.           Wt.        Cl.           School                                  Hometown

DL           Da’Quan Bowers              6-4          275        Jr.            Clemson               Bamberg, S.C.

DL           Adrian Clayborn              6-4          285         Sr.           Iowa                      St. Louis, Mo.

DL           Jabaal Sheard                    6-4          260         Sr.           Pittsburgh            HollywoodHills,Fla. DL           Ryan Kerrigan          6-4         263         Sr.         Purdue        Muncie, Ind.

LB           Luke Kuechly                     6-3         235         So.        Boston College   Cincinnati, Ohio

LB           Greg Jones*                         6-1         240         Sr.         Michigan St.       Cincinnati, Ohio

LB           Tank Carder                       6-3         237         Jr.          TCU          Sweeny, Texas

DB          Reggie Rembert                  5-8         185         Sr.         Air Force                 Flower Mound, Texas

DB          Patrick Peterson                 6-1         222         Jr.          LSU           Pompano Beach, Fla.

DB          Prince Amukamara          6-1         205         Sr.         Nebraska                Glendale, Ariz.

DB          Quinton Carter                   6-1         200         Sr.         Oklahoma              Las Vegas, Nev.



Pos         Name                                    Ht.          Wt.         Cl.           School                   Hometown

P             Kyle Martens                       6-6         200         Jr.          Rice           Spearfish, S.D.

PK           Will Snyderwine               5-11       190         Jr.          Duke        Potomac, Md.

AP           Owen Marecic                   6-1         244         Sr.         Stanford              Tigard, Ore.




LSU Football

  Most LSU fans aren't going to like this, but Bleacher's Tobe Moore has graded the LSU coaching staff and gives it a D- despite a 10-2 season.  Writes Moore: "How can a coaching staff that has led its team to a 10-2 record get a D- grade? Because it has great talent that can win games despite of its coaches. Les Miles continues to show, week in and week out, poor clock management, lack of motivation skills, lack of discipline, lack of player development and poor communication skills. Basically, every skill of being a head coach he lacks. I'm sure he's a nice guy, but that doesn't cut it when you have the continued problems LSU has brought to the field. Just look at the LSU quarterback play this year, a nd think that Oregon's star quarterback Daron Thomas, who committed to LSU, was told he wasn't good enough to play QB at LSU, but would need to play another position. The same could be said about LSU's "jack of all trades" player Russell Shepard. There is no way you could tell me he would've done worse at QB than what LSU produced this year. Yet, you rarely see this kid who was the nation's top recruit a short time ago. Player evaluation is pathetic at LSU."


ALABAMA has fired an employee who mocked Auburn quarterback Cam Newton with songs he played over the public address system before their game at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa. The songs of choice?  "Take the Money and Run" by the Steve Miller Band and "Son of a Preacher Man."  (Reports don't make clear it was the Aretha Franklin or Dusty Springfield version). As you have no doubt heard, Newton and his father, the Rev. Cecil Newton, are under investigation for possibly soliciting payment from one or more potential universities for Newton's services prior to the player transferring from a Texas community college. Hence, the background music during the pre-game. Alabama's part-time DJ presumably passed on the Beatles' "Money," Pink Floyd's "Money," AC/DC's "Money Talks," the O'Jays' "For the Love of Money" and of course Donna Summers "(He) Works Hard for His Money." (Sorry. Just had to go there.)...


Work Stoppage

A WORK stoppage in 2011 will not mean that fans have to eat the price of worthless tickets.The NFL said that full refunds will be given to general admission seats for  all preseason and regular-season games canceled by a work stoppage in 2011.The league-wide guarantee on refunds will not extend to Personal Seat Licenses or club or luxury seats. Teams can decide on an individual basis how to handle the PSLs and more expensive seats. "We are working hard to secure an agreement with the union that is fair and forward-thinking to ensure our game is sound and strong well into the future," said NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. "We know we can reach an agreement at some point. We all want football without interruption, but our fans are entitled to know now that they would receive refunds if any games are canceled."No mention was made if "replacement players" were used...

MONDAY night camera captured images of Cardinals quarterback Derek Anderson and guard Deuce Lutui sitting on the bench and smiling/laughing/generally acting like two guys who weren't seeing their season essentially come to an end. Stuff like that drives fans crazy.In fact, true fans despise those post-game shots of players from the two teams acting out the lyrics if "Same Auld Syne" at midfield after  a hard-fought game, But those images are usually fleeting and by then the commentators have taken off the headsets...


by Ed Staton
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Ed Staton

Ed Staton is a former sports writer for the Times Picayune and New Orleans States Item.  He also served as the New Orleans Saints Information Director.  He has won 43 media awards in writing, design and photography. | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.