Tag Archives: United States Football League

A disruption to my daily routine and first impressions of the Alliance of American Football

Greetings, readers. The last two mornings had weather conditions such that the Three Musketeers (Smith, Traci, and I) could not go to Panera for our now ritualistic morning coffee. Aren’t humans creatures of habit? I felt cheated that I didn’t have my time with my friends. And I know for a fact that Smith and Traci felt the same way. Smith says that she loves to get out of the apartment building at least twice a day if she can. We couldn’t go this morning because the sidewalks were a sheet of ice. Yesterday we had 4 inches of snow followed by freezing rain. Not a good combination. Schools were closed and functions around town were cancelled. It’s not very often that I stay in my apartment the entire day. I was completely lethargic and went to bed at 8:30. To my surprise I slept pretty much through the night, and had a bizarre dream about my mother. I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t call her on her cell phone. I kept asking my dad for the right number. When I woke up it dawned on my why I couldn’t call her in the dream; my mother is deceased, as is my dad. As happens quite a lot in dreams, you attempt to do things or make contact with loved ones and fail. I honestly believe the reason I couldn’t contact my mom is because she was deceased. If any readers have any other plausible explanations, please do leave a comment here or on my Facebook page.

On to another topic now. On YouTube, I watched parts of two footballs games, from the first week of the brand new Alliance of American Football (AAF). I watched part of the Atlanta Legends at Orlando Apollos game. The Atlanta team was not very good; they got blown out 40 – 6. Then I watched the San Diego Fleet at San Antonio Commanders game. It was not a packed house at the Alamodome, but I would say it was a good crowd for the first game of a new league. The San Antonio Commanders are the first professional football team in that city since the United States Football League’s San Antonio Gunslingers were there for one dreadful season in the early 80s.

The AAF has a few rule differences from the National Football League (NFL). One is they have no kickoffs. The ball is spotted on the 25 yard line for the team who wins the coin toss. They do, however, have punts and field goals. Another rule difference I like is that after every touchdown they have to go for a 2-point conversion.

With limited practice time and only one exhibition game per team, the offensive lines have not gelled yet. I’m sure these teams will get a lot better. One week down and nine to go in the ten week regular season. This league starts one week after the NFL’s Super Bowl and their championship game will be in late April. Just in time for folks to switch over to baseball. That’s what I like the most. I am not a fan of basketball or hockey. I don’t hate those sports, but I’ve never gotten into watching them full-time.

I shall enjoy getting to know these teams while watching them on TNT and the NFL network. In April, after their championship game, I shall give you a final review/update on this fledgling league.

There’s today’s blog entry. Everyone please pray for warmer weather. I’m tired of the cold and winter. Rebecca and I bid you a good day. Take care, and as always, happy reading.

P.S. New blog entry on Sunday. Until then …

Top ten list of things gone by the wayside part 2

Greetings, readers. Today’s top ten list is a continuation of a previous entry of things gone by the wayside. It has been quite a while since the first part came out on February 1, 2013 and Rebecca and I have managed to come up with ten more. So here they are in no particular order.

10. Older aircraft. [Oh, the days of the DC3s, the Boeing 727s, and the DC10s. As most of you know, I am a flight sim buff and I’ve always enjoyed the older aircraft for their nostalgia. If I had a bucket list, one of the things I would do would be to fly on a DC3. They were manufactured in the 1940s, and according to the internet, there still are a handful of them still in service.]

9. Wholesome television shows. [When I was little, The Waltons and Little House on the Prairie were two huge hits for CBS and NBC. I always loved watching the Walton and Ingalls families go through their daily lives, whether it would be fun times or hardships. There was never really any violence in those shows and even if something bad happened, the goodness of the people in the community came to the aid of the people in need.]

8. Children’s lemonade stands. [These might not be 100% gone, but I’ve heard that in some states parents actually need to get a permit, and one poor child’s lemonade stand was shut down by the police for lack of said permit. I remember having a lemonade stand when I was 9 or 10, and later in life, if I was driving around town in my car and saw one, I would make it a point to stop and have two cups. Those kids deserved the extra quarter.]

7. Typewriters. [Oh, yes, the days of Wite-Out. I remember vividly writing my early writing career stories on a typewriter. As I’ve mentioned before, my favorite key is the backspace key; the old typewriters did not have that, hence my favorite product was Wite-Out. One college professor, I recall, did not allow Wite-Out and on one tough term paper it took me three tries to type the final page. When I was done, and I knew the term paper was just so, I threw the typewriter down the cellar steps. Mom laughed for an hour, saying, “I told you that one letter stuck, but you wouldn’t believe me.”]

6. The United States Football League – founded in ’82, ceased in ’86. [It took nearly a year to set up before playing began. The United States Football League, the spring time competition to the NFL, lasted just 3 seasons, ’83 through ’85. There were many factors to why it failed: #1, It expanded too quickly. #2. It paid humongous salaries with money it didn’t have yet. And #3. When Donald Trump, then owner of the New Jersey Generals, decided it would be a great idea to move to fall football and compete directly with the NFL, it was the beginning of the end. President Trump, you did not make the USFL great again, you killed it.]

5. Mom and Pop stores. [This one was going to be hardware stores, but Ace Hardware is still going strong so we changed to the Mom and Pop variety stores. You know the kind I mean, they sell a little bit of everything. State College had one such store, O.W. Houts & Sons, but when Wal-Mart came in, I knew it was only a matter of time before the Houts family would either sell or retire. I miss that store tremendously, it was part of my childhood. My mom shopped there every Saturday and sometimes I would go with her.]

4. Manners. [Quite recently, I was working the cash register at my job, when a mother and her two children walked up. The daughter, approximately age 10, gave me her order and said, “May I please have …” before everything she wanted. It was truly a wonderful thing to see; young children with perfect manners. I actually complimented their mom.]

3. Goodyear Blimp. [When I was a pre-teen, the Goodyear Blimp would always come to State College, Pennsylvania for one big Penn State home game. It would arrive on a Wednesday or Thursday, fly around at night advertising, and leave after the game. Over time, it began to only come the morning of the game and would be gone right afterwards. Now the Goodyear Blimp doesn’t come at all. We’ve had other blimps come and cover the games, but to me if just isn’t the same. Many an evening my mom and I would sit on the front porch in the fall and watch the blimp fly overhead and advertise their latest tire offers. Oh, if only to hear that low-pitched droning sound of its engines one more time. That sound is truly unique.]

2. Television variety shows. [Gone are the days of the Carol Burnett Show, the Sonny & Cher Show, and other such weekly variety series’. TV has evolved into mostly reality shows of a different sort now, mostly sleazy and sex related. And the one attempt at an old-fashioned variety show a couple of years ago was canceled after a few episodes. Take it from me, bigwigs of the major networks, the TV variety series is dead and gone. R.I.P.]

1. Handwritten letters. [This one holds a special place in my heart, for not that many years ago, I would write letters, and more importantly, Christmas cards. Yes, you can still buy Christmas cards and send them, but I’ve heard from retailers that sales decline every year. And why shouldn’t they, you can go on the internet and send any kind of e-card that you want for free on most websites. The fancier ones might only cost ninety-nine cents. That is still a much cheaper option then driving to Hallmark, finding that pretty card, bringing it home, putting a stamp on it, and taking it to the mailbox. I don’t know if writing letters will ever come back and replace email; I highly doubt it. I know it won’t for me. I have a dear friend in Romania and relatives in Holland, how easy and convenient it is to type an email, have the program spellcheck it for me, and after I hit send, the email the is half-way around the world within a minute. A letter would take a week or more.]

Well, there you have it, part 2 of things gone by the wayside. Tomorrow will be a personal day for me, and I’ve asked Rebecca to put up a blog entry for me. I’m sure she will do her usual good job. So until next Wednesday when we both return, I bid you a good week, take care and happy reading.

I’ve been enjoying old school football games lately

Greetings, readers. I must say thank you so much to YouTube’s members. Over the past month I have been happily enjoying watching many college and NFL football games in their entirety and without commercials. The 1984 Orange Bowl comes to mind as one of my favorites, as well as many of the Oklahoma versus Texas Red River Shootout Games, played in Dallas in the Cotton Bowl. Every year, these two teams flip-flop being the home team, for this stadium is half-way between the university cities. People come from all over the country the state fair and this football game, which has been played for over a hundred years.

On the professional side, I’ve watched the Freezer Bowl, the San Diego Chargers versus the Cincinnati Bangles, in the early 80s. The temperature that day in Cincinnati was below zero and the wind chill made it feel far worse than that. Still the stadium was packed. Those were football fans.

I’ve also enjoyed a number of old Super Bowls. The one I watched most recently was the Minnesota Vikings versus the Miami Dolphins. A couple of these wonderful videos are played in stadiums that no longer exist. I think that is why I like them. I didn’t realize until recently just how old school I am. I love old cars, old shows, old everything. It’s funny; I like my technology, I think I would die without my PS3, but something keeps calling me back to those good old days.

Back in the 70s and early 80s, the North American Soccer League, or NASL, was rather popular. I found some games from that league and enjoyed them immensely. My dad taught me to love soccer, or football as it is called in the rest of the world.

Lastly, if you were a United States Football League fan, there are tons of games to choose from. Popular teams with the most videos are the two-time champions Philadelphia/Baltimore Stars, the New Jersey Generals, and the Michigan Panthers. No, play was not as good as in the NFL, but I loved it. The league folded after only three seasons. There is talk of it making a comeback one day. It was supposed to begin two years ago; it keeps being delayed. I don’t see that as a good sign of organization. If any of my readers just happened to be associated with the new USFL, I have two words for you: Please don’t. It would probably fail faster than the first league did.

There are many other things on YouTube besides sports that I enjoy and I will fill you in on those in a future entry. Until Friday, take care, enjoy the warmer weather, and happy reading.

Off to a slow start today because of bookkeeping

Greetings, readers. Rebecca and I spent the first half of our workday today trying to get our bookkeeping up to date at a local store, to see how many of my books sold there. Out of the twelve copies left there last April, only eleven were on the shelves. We either have one sold or none. You would think that would be easy to check for, but no. The store bookkeeper wasn’t there at the time, and the report that the store manager pulled up showed a payment to me that we don’t have in our records. So a trip to the bank will have to be made today or Tuesday to check on the possible deposit and to ask a question on another topic.

So here it is 1:30 pm and we are just now getting to work. Before going to Panera for coffee at 11:00 this morning, I tried desperately to get my ailing computer working to check emails. Something is amiss in my machine, for when Rebecca and I got back over here, we had difficulties. That is another reason why we are off to a slow start. Once I finish dictating the rest of this blog entry and we edit it, I’m still hoping to have enough time to do a writing exercise of some kind.

I re-read the blog entry on the helmet logos from the other day and thought to myself, wow if I had a big house and lots of money I would purchase, one or two helmets at a time, as many NFL helmets as I wanted and would then proudly display them. Ha-ha, quit dreaming. First of all, even though I am grateful for it, I live in an apartment slightly bigger than a shoebox. And the three mini-helmets I do have from the USFL haven’t been dusted in quite a while. Long story short, there’s no room.

If one day I would be lucky enough to win the mega-millions lotto, I would find the biggest house that was for sale, buy it, and have money left over to purchase all the little knickknacks that I ever dreamed of having. One room would be just for football mini helmets proudly displayed, the garage would be filled with classic cars, and the attic would be chock-full of Christmas ornaments and an elaborate manger scene. I would go crazy at the holiday season.

That of course is fantasy land. To re-iterate, I am happy for the home I have here at Addison Court apartments, but who doesn’t like to dream once in a while. And if you are going to dream, dream big.

Well, have a good weekend, stay warm, take care and happy reading.

Top ten list of my favorite football helmet logos

Greetings, readers. Since the NFL playoffs are in full swing and the Superbowl will soon be upon us, I thought it would be a good time to come up with the top ten list of my favorite helmet logos. So here they are, plus two. The first two are from the old United States Football League. We used a website called Collectible Supplies to confirm what the NFL helmets look like.

#10. The Pittsburgh Maulers from the United States Football League: An ironworker with a hardhat swinging a mallet.

#9. The Washington Federals from the USFL: A white helmet with a bird-shape, probably an eagle, with a white star in the bird’s neck, and three green strips flowing behind.

#8. The Houston Oilers from the National Football League: A white helmet with a tall dark blue oil well in a red outline.

#7. The Kansas City Chiefs from the NFL: A white arrowhead with the letters KC in red.

#6. Cincinnati Bengals from the NFL, the throwback design from the 60s and 70s: An orange helmet with words Bengals on both sides. [It was simple but it worked.]

#5. The Los Angeles Rams from the NFL, the throwbacks: Dark blue helmet with the lighter yellow or orange stripe depicting a ram’s horn. [Today’s version the ram’s horn is a darker mustard yellow.]

#4. The Miami Dolphins from the NFL, the new helmet brought out for the 2013 season: A white helmet with a big teal dolphin in an “S” shape in an orange ring, with no helmet on the dolphin’s head.

#3. The Minnesota Vikings from the NFL, any version: A purple helmet with a white plume to depict the horn on a viking’s hat.

#2. The New England Patriots from the NFL, the throwback: A white helmet with a minute man in red uniform in position to snap the football.

#1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers from the NFL, the throwback: A white helmet with a creamsicle-orange pirate, with a sword in his mouth; his name was Buckle Bruce.

And two honorable mentions:

#2. The Philadelphia Eagles from the NFL, the throwback: The rare white helmet with the green eagle wing. [I wish they would change back; hint, hint.]

#1. The Pittsburgh Steelers from the NFL; Black helmet with a yellow stripe, and on the side of the helmet it says “Steelers” in black letters with three diamonds in yellow, red, and blue (signifying the three rivers coming together into one).

Well, there you go, hope we did an adequate job of describing them to you, if you didn’t follow the link yourself. Let the debates begin in the comments, and please feel free to share your top ten if you wish.

Until next time, take care, enjoy your day and happy reading.

My view on the possible Redskins name change

Greetings, readers. Dominating the sports news the last few days has been the discussion about whether the Washington Redskins should change their nickname, as some view Redskins as offensive to Native Americans. Rebecca and I have just finished doing research on other people’s views on this topic and on other team names; such as the Atlanta Braves, Kansas City Chiefs, and Chicago Blackhawks. So, we will tiptoe through this blog entry and hopefully not offend anyone.

Our main source of information today was from an article on CNN.com from October 8, 2013 by Alison Harding titled “Tribe seeks to force NFL Redskins name change”. The article, and videos on the same page, use interviews and quotes from people attending recent events in Washington, as well as older interviews. Included are statements from the Washington Redskins team owner Dan Snyder, from President Barack Obama, and from the Oneida Indian Nation representative Roy Halbritter. Other views: One gentleman made the point that a lot of pee-wee and high school teams across the county use the name Redskins. If they were forced to change the name as well, imagine how much money that would cost. Another person said that many fans don’t mind the name, and continue to purchase tickets and merchandise with the Redskins logo on it. Until that stops, the name change probably won’t happen.

In my research I have learned that the Washington Redskins have been an NFL franchise since 1933 and before that they were in Boston. According to this article, the franchise began in Boston and if I understand the article correctly, the team was already called the Redskins. If this is not correct, I apologize.

An easy fix would be this. In the early 80s, Washington had a United States Football League team called the Washington Federals. Why don’t the Redskins just buy the rights and call themselves the Federals? I’m sure something could be worked out. Even though that team was only in existence for two seasons in the failed USFL I never heard anyone complain about the name or the logo.

Over the years the Redskins name change has bubbled to the surface only to dissipate. Recently, President Barack Obama said that if he owned the team, he would consider changing the name if it offended other people. However, Redskins owner Dan Snyder said he would never change the name and in an interview last spring he told a reporter that you can put ‘never’ in CAPS. Roy Halbritter, representing the Oneida Indian Nation, said that Redskins is a racial slur that hurts the self-image of Native American children.

My personal view is this; Being the wishy-washy person I am, I can see both sides of the coin. The Redskins name has been around since at least 1933, if not longer. But that is really no excuse for continuing to offend Native Americans. Sure it would be easy to change the name to the Federals or the Congressmen, or even the Deficits (haha), but just like the Indianapolis Colts, formerly of Baltimore, and the St. Louis Rams, formerly of L.A., it would take generations of fans to get used to the new name. The bottom line, however, is this: The name is offensive. In a video clip to the above linked article, the name Redskin is a racial slur according to the Merriam-Webster’s dictionary.

Ok, now that I have Washington off my chest, let’s talk about other teams. Names like Braves, Chiefs, Blackhawks, and Seminoles do not seem to have any racial slur attached to them. This is why I think that the Redskins are being singled out. I’ve learned that the Florida State College Football team actually got permission from the Seminole tribe to use their name. Kudos to them.

The other big question then becomes, should all sports franchises using Native American nicknames, be forced to change their nickname? I say no. With the Redskins nickname being an obvious racial slur, that is the one to go if any should.

Until next week, enjoy your day, take care and happy reading.

The new USFL update … and ouch, I hurt!

Greetings, readers. Yes, blog readers, as my title tells you, this is a double subject blog entry. The biggest reason is that both topics are not long enough to warrant their own entry. I don’t usually do this, though I have in the past. I shall start off with the new and improved United State Football League.

I have lost all enthusiasm for this new league. According to internet sources, the league was supposed to begin last year (March of 2012). Then, a last-minute notice said that they were going to do some restructuring and that play would begin March of 2013. I couldn’t wait. I opened up the website to check for teams names and cities, and was disappointed to find that the project was purchased by another owner, and the “new time-table to begin play” is March of 2014. I now say, why even bother? To me it appears painfully obvious that you can’t get it together. If I were the PR person for this league, I would have strongly advised against putting out any start date. I think I would have just said stay turned, we’re coming soon, and kick-off will happen when we are ready.

As some of you might remember, the old USFL failed miserably after three seasons. The new USFL, I fear, will never get off the ground at all.

On now to something else. Usually at eleven o’clock in the morning on work days, I walk over to Panera Bread cafe and have a cup of coffee while I wait for Rebecca. Not ten minutes after I sat down in that comfy booth my back went into total spasm. At first I thought I could ward it off before Rebecca arrived. Not so. I told her that I would do my very best not to let it ruin the work day and in my opinion I haven’t.

These attacks don’t hurt per se. It’s more of a feeling of tightness and a jumping leg muscle. I suppose that is the most embarrassing part when I am out in public. I was mentioning to a friend of mine just a half hour ago that one time my spasm was so bad that it actually side-lined me for the whole day. Now, readers, I don’t have back spasms that severe very often. Well, it is time to edit this now, so I’ll say my good-byes until later in the week.

Think spring, take care and happy reading.

5/8/13 Update: Today, while editing for the book, we clicked on the link for the new USFL website in this post and found it no longer working. Rebecca and I literally spent a half hour trying to locate said website. Either the new league has given up all hope or whoever is promoting it has given it a new website which we have yet to find. We took out the link that had been in this post since it doesn’t go anyway anymore.

1 year ago today!!!

Greetings, readers. Gee how time flies. It has just come to my attention through WordPress.com that this is my one year anniversary of my blog. Whee! Seems like I ran the gamut over the year on many different topics. From the Air Florida plane crash to the USFL to a tribute to my father and much, much more. Oddly enough, my favorites have been the good old top ten lists.

Have I a clue what is to come this year? Not in the least. This is how Rebecca and I do a blog entry. 95% of the time I think of my topic as the computer is booting up. It is only that rare 5% where Rebecca comes in to work and I say I already know what I’m going to blog about today. Thanks to Rebecca’s extensive blog reading, and her willingness to share her personal views every once in a while, a From Rebecca is posted. Not that I am jealous, I’m actually happy, but hers tend to get the most views. From time to time, Rebecca and I do collaborate on an idea, or at the very least she helps me with wording if I get stuck.

Again, I just wanted to chime in on my one year anniversary. There will be many more years to come. Have a great day, take care, and as always … happy reading. 🙂

Update on miscellaneous

Good day to you all. Here in State College, PA., it is the first semi-warm day of early spring. The temperature is near 60°. Whoo-hoot. Here are some updates for you about things that are going on with me.

First, for those of you who read and enjoyed my blog entry on the new United States Football league, and were expecting it to begin in two weeks, don’t hold your breath. I read on a website that I follow that the venture has been acquired by a company in San Diego, California, and is now going to begin in the Spring of 2013. Again, I say, why even try? But we shall see.

Secondly, due to circumstances beyond my control, my writing assistant and I are going to have to concentrate on my book much for the next couple of months. New blog posts will probably be decreased in number to one or two a week. More if possible.

Thirdly, and lastly, MBL 12 The Show came out yesterday. Again, I say, OMG. What I’ve seen so far is awesome. I wanted to experiment with it more yesterday, but back spasms had me flat on my recliner most of the evening. : (  I shall, however, continue to learn every facet of the game in the weeks to come and will let you all know. I can say this, the pre-release hype was not over-exaggerated.

Oh, P.S. On Google maps, I may have seen a picture of my father’s old house in Holland. I typed in our last name and the town in which he was born. Lo and behold, a picture of a house came up with an address. I have emailed my cousin to verify whether this was Dad’s family home or the home of another Kockelmans family member. Speaking of Pop, we are very close to obtaining all the information I wish to have so as to be able to make my blog entry about my father something special.

Until very soon, Take care.

The New United States Football League

In the late 1980s, the United States Football League, a weak competitor to the National Football League, had a three season run and then folded. Enter March February 2012. The buzz on the internet is that the new United States Football League, or USFL, is set to get underway late next month.

Twelve teams shall make up this new league which shall play through the end of summer, again giving fans year round football. While getting ready to write this blog entry, I Yahooed and Googled and could not find anything specific such as team locations and names. Apparently though it is a go for late March. I say, why?

The original USFL played to half empty stadiums, had teams that moved constantly, especially the Breakers organization which had three homes in three years. Problem number two was that the league expanded way too quickly. Their biggest problem, however, was that they promised big salaries with money that they could not pay did not have.

If the USFL version two is for real, I certainly hope that they are much more organized than their predecessor. I actually loved the original USFL but I sincerely doubt that North America will accept a second football league. It took years for the indoor Arena League to catch on. Outdoor year round football is simply too much.

If there is a team in Pittsburgh or Philadelphia, and their games are covered on television, I shall give it a shot, being the football lover that I am. But as far as a league lasting 70 or 80 years, I’m not holding my breath. More details as I get them. Have a great weekend and I’ll catch you next week.