If you’re old enough to remember when the US hosted the 1994 World Cup, you know Tony Meola. The former US National Team goalkeeper made 100 appearances for the national squad between 1988 and 2006. Born and raised in Jersey, Meola and his larger-than-life mulleted/ponytailed persona was one of the first true soccer superstars in the States.
Meola was a foundational stud who helped launch Major League Soccer in the US. He’s an Italian-American who grew up loving soccer (his pops Vincent played reserve fullback for a second division team in Italy), but Tony also excelled in basketball and baseball. Dude was even drafted by the Yankees. Meola is an engaging guy. He has an awesome radio show called Counter Attack Radio and he also plays the drums.
I caught up with Tony last week when he was in Denver on March 21 when he surprised members of the Future Soccer Academy by hosting an Allstate “Good Hands F.C.” Clinic that included free gear and tickets to the US v. Costa Rica blizzard match that took place on March 22. Tony and I discussed the Allstate Clinic future prospects of the USMNT, racism in soccer, the fact that all goalies are a little bit nuts, the ‘94 World Cup, the birth of the MLS, drummers and a whole lot more. Here’s the interview:
CS: So let’s start with the Allstate Good Hands FC Clinic. Tell me what that’s all about.
TM: Yeah. So Allstate is in their third year of sponsorship with both Major League Soccer and the US National Team. We get to go around the country. I’ve been with the program all three years now. Essentially what we do is the night before a game, we go into the community and we barge in on a practice, which has all been set up through the coaches. We give them a clinic and then ultimately we do some shootouts and we give some prices away and all that kind of stuff. And then at the end everyone comes in and everyone gets a gift from Allstate which is a bag with basically everything that they need for the upcoming season. Literally it’s a group that’s in maybe a little bit more need than some other groups for uniforms, sweat suits, soccer balls, training gear for the coaches. Ultimately, at the end, they’re given tickets to tomorrow night’s game. And in this case, it’s the US-Costa Rica game.
CS: Oh nice. That sounds cool.
TM: Yeah it’s really cool. It’s a really cool night. Allstate does a great job.
CS: So why aren’t there more youth academies in the US? Whether they be from MLS teams or the National Team. You see places in Europe where every club and country has some type of academy where they train these young players. We have such a strong youth soccer culture, but we don’t necessarily put a lot of investment into that development and bringing them forward.
TM: We have 100 academies in the country. All MLS teams have them now, as of finals last year. Major League Soccer has committed above and beyond what the club teams are required to commit to the programs now. It has committed upwards of 20 million dollars to the program. One of the primary focuses is to continue to develop youth soccer players. That’s the only way we’re going to continue to grow in this country.
People started screaming about it a couple years ago when they put the academy program in, but it’s not something that is going to happen overnight. It’s not something that was considered their first priority when they put the league together, but it’s certainly a priority right now. It’s going to take a little bit of time to implement it fully, but from what I’ve seen, everybody is taking steps in the right direction.
CS: You were a foundational contributor to the whole birth of Major League Soccer in ’96. How do you think the league has progressed since then and can they do more to gain exposure and increase popularity?
TM: Well certainly there is more exposure, much more exposure. Social media now exists, which certainly didn’t when we started. That’s huge. The television deals that they have are different than the deals we had, you know? So it continues to grow, and that was the goal for everybody. First we had to figure out, how do we grow it in the right way. And then once we had, do we have the resources to grow? Is there the funding in US Soccer to grow it? And they’ve come about on all of these things. Do I think it’s the end of the growth? No, I think there’s still so much more. And I think everyone agrees that there’s still a ways to go, but I also think everybody is happy with the direction that it’s going.
CS: So if we started to see things like time outs or commercials in soccer, do you think that would attract more advertising dollars and maybe help make the sport more popular and viewable if it had more of that TV exposure?
TM: Good question. It attracts so many different ways to advertise, in soccer. The problem with our sport, and I don’t think we’re going to start it here in America, is it’s 45 minutes of running. That’s the one part of the game nobody wants to see change.
TM: Everyone wants that to flow. From a coaching standpoint, I’m sure a coach wants to have the ability a couple times to have a time out and make some changes, but that’s the beauty. Coaches get one chance to make things right and that’s halftime. Of course they can make some substitutions along the way, but that’s their one time where they can put their imprint on the game.
CS: You were a key member of the ’94 World Cup team that really helped advance the game in the States. What’s your fondest memory of that whole US World Cup experience?
TM: I think the unity of that team. In ’94, I mean we had half the team that played in Europe and half the team that played in the United States. When we got together, the cause was always the same and we knew how important it was. They know how important it is here as well, but we had heard for four years that if we didn’t qualify in 1990, they were going to take the ’94 World Cup away and we knew it was a privilege for us to have it in our country. We understood it and we played as such. Every minute was important to us. Every second we were together was important to us. That’s what I remember about that group. That was never something you had to worry about.
CS: Do you think the USA will win a World Cup in your lifetime?
TM: I sure hope so. It’s hard to say. Even if you take Brazil or Germany or Italy, it’s hard to say if any of those teams will win another World Cup from here on out, in my lifetime. It’s just so difficult to win. There have only been eight or nine countries that have won the World Cup and there’s a reason for that. But I certainly hope so. And we’ve had teams that could compete, the team in 2002, the team in 2010, could all compete with anybody in the world. But you know, you have to get the job done on that day. I’d like to think the answer is a solid yes, but I can’t give you a solid yes.
CS: I gotcha. Do you like what Jurgen is doing with the direction of the National Squad? What do you think the program has to do to take the next step in the international stage?
TM: When I think about Jurgen, for me, he’s going to be –and I say this all the time– he’s going to be judged, and should be judged, on the results.
TM: Right now he’s under a little bit of pressure. Which, one, I think is good because it shows that people care. If no one cares you never have any pressure. My concern is that sometimes, from reading the federation, he changes the whole program. For me I’d like his concern just to be strictly on the National Team qualifying for the World Cup and progressing that way. Let everybody else worry about development below the national team. As far as the system, I don’t know that the system has changed all that much, if any. I still think it’s about results. That’s what people want to see. With these World Cup qualifiers it’s just vitally important.
CS: The US has such a great track record of producing quality goalies, but it seems that producing that same level of skill with players in other positions has proven a bit more difficult. Why do you think that is?
TM: Well it’s an athletic position. I think it’s one of coordination. Our guys generally grew up playing baseball, playing basketball as well as soccer, and are a little bit more well-rounded. Because it’s an athletic position, they can pick it up a lot quicker. We used to have foreigners on our team in multiple positions and we’d play a simple game like basketball or handball and you could tell that their eye-hand coordination was zero. Our field players even, they were good playing basketball, baseball, or whatever else we were playing. So we grew up playing multiple sports, I think it’s good. Eventually you’ve got to concentrate on one to make it to that level, but for the most part I think that’s what’s up with the goal keeping position.
CS: So why did you choose soccer over baseball and basketball? You were pretty accomplished at both. I mean you were drafted by the Yankees, man. What made you gravitate toward the soccer field?
TM: My goal as a kid was to play in a World Cup. I grew up watching Italy, because of my background and watching Dino Zoff in the 1980 World Cup in goal. That was what I wanted to do, unlike most kids, especially in that era. Now it’s probably not so uncommon to have kids dream of playing in a World Cup, but back then it probably was your second or third choice. For me it was just the thing I wanted to do more than anything, and I was lucky enough to be able to live that dream.
CS: Do you think all goal keepers are just a little bit nuts?
TM: (laughs) It would be hard for me to disagree with you.
CS: (laughs) Nice.
TM: I don’t know if that’s before, during, or after the job. I’m not so sure.
CS: Do you think you could currently help the New York Jets win some games?
TM: (laughs) I don’t think so. I think the range has diminished a little bit, but I still think from 45 yards in I’d be alright.
CS: I know you’re a pretty accomplished drummer, who is your favorite drummer of all time?
TM: I would say Neil Peart from Rush. Just like you always try to be like someone you’re never going to be able to be like. Carter Beuford from Dave Matthews Band. Guys like that. Guys that you can just tell are really good at having fun at what they do.
CS: What do you think can be done about the whole racism in soccer situation? It seems to be pretty rampant and kind of a growing problem.
TM: Yeah, unfortunately it is. We have this discussion on our show, it seems like weekly. And it seems like, for whatever reason, in these last couple months it has come to the forefront again. Fortunately we don’t have a lot of it here in the United States. I think we’ve had so much education in the United States, dating back so many years, that kind of helps us. Kids are learning about it in school. I’m not sure what the education is at a young age overseas, but yeah, it’s got to stop. It’s sickening every time I hear about it and every time we have to talk about it. We talk about the same thing, when is it going to end? When are people going to learn? When are they going to stop being so cruel to each other? But some people just don’t get it. They just don’t get it. And the scary part is we have guys on our show that have played 20 years ago, played overseas in different places, they’ll come out and talk about how bad it is now. They’ll give us horror stories about how much worse it was when they were playing. Any offence in that regard is disgusting to me, but to listen to some of the stories they tell, it just blows my mind.
TM: Oh, that would be my dream.
TM: Even more than the prettier ponytail, would be if the mullet came back.
CS: Oh, that might be asking too much (laughs).
TM: That might be, but hell, bell bottom pants came back for a little, right?
CS: Anything is possible (laughs).
TM: (laughs). Maybe one day. Maybe one day…
The first episode of the BECOME ONE web series is now up on www.gotchocolatemilk.com. We interviewed Hines a few weeks back and told you about his quest to become an IRONMAN. In the first episode of BECOME ONE, Hines is introduced to his new coach, 8-time IRONMAN World Champion Paula Newby-Fraser.
The series will run all the way through the IRONMAN World Championship in October. You can follow all the action on www.gotchocolatemilk.com.
Richard Dent, former NFL defensive end and Atlanta football legend, will be honored in his hometown community as part of a special program called “Hometown Hall of Famers” presented by the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Allstate.”
Dent will be recognized by representatives of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Allstate Insurance Company and the Atlanta community during a special ceremony at Crim Open Campus High School. The event will take place Wednesday, March 27.
The four-time Pro Bowl honoree was named Super Bowl MVP for his dominating performance against the New England Patriots in the Bears’ decisive 46-10 victory in Super Bowl XX. Dent was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2011.
Art Eddy: You are being honored in Atlanta for the “Hometown Hall of Famers” program presented by the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Allstate this week. How did it feel when you heard the news about this great honor?
Richard Dent: It is a great honor. When members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Allstate come together to help people like myself go back into the community and say thanks to your neighborhood and places where you grew up it is a great feeling.
There is going to be a bunch of kids from the Atlanta school systems there and the message will be that you should strive to find yourself. For me I didn’t play sports in high school until my junior year. I was able to go to college on a scholarship and go play in the National Football League. If you play at a certain level you might be able to make it into the Hall of Fame. I never really thought about that, but did dream about going to the Super Bowl and winning it. Had a chance to see those things happen.
Now Allstate and the Hall of Fame have allowed me to get on the road and get into the communities and tell these stories. I am able to thank those who were able shape young men in the community like me.
AE: Henry Adams, who is one of your former coaches, will present you with the historic plaque. Talk to me about your relationship with your former coach.
RD: He was the defensive coordinator and Coach William Lester, who was the head coach, would have probably introduced me into the Hall of Fame, but he has passed. I had a chance to thank him at the Georgia Hall of Fame. William Lester has had touched so many thousands of students that went to college.
Henry Adams was the head coach of the basketball team. He made me be the water boy for one year. Then I played my senior year and made All-State. I thought I had something there and didn’t really think about football too much. William Lester help me stay at Mercy High School when my family moved out of the community. He would give me rides to and from school for two years.
It just goes to show you what people would do for you if you put a flag in the ground and work at a goal and find yourself. I wanted to be someone in my community and be looked up to. My family appreciated that. This is why I appreciate Allstate and the Pro Football Hall of Fame to come back and say thanks to some people. Plus if you can save some lives by what you say and they envision theirs lives on what they can be it is a good thing.
AE: You were part of the great 46 Chicago Bears defense with Mike Singletary, William Perry, Wilber Marshall and many others. What was it like to play with those guys?
RD: When I look back it was me, Dan Hampton, William Perry, Walter Payton, and Mike Singletary. I think we had probably seven to eight Hall of Famers on that team. When you have all those guys in life just like in football you can reach your goals. We should have been the first team in the NFL to win three Super Bowls in a row. In four years we only lost ten games.
If you look at all the dominant teams in the NFL from decade to decade it would be hard to find a team to match what we did in those four years. It just goes to show you how tough it is to accomplish what we did.
AE: In the 1985 season you guys were so close to going undefeated and match the record of the ’72 Miami Dolphins. Ironically enough it was the Dolphins who were the only team to beat you that year. At that time did you guys care about that or just focused on winning the Super Bowl?
RD: When we lost the Championship game the year before to San Francisco we vowed to each other on the plane ride back that we were going to win everything hands down. We didn’t say we were going to go undefeated. The first game of the year we were down 21 points at halftime. That was Tampa Bay.
We had a conversation at halftime and we came back to win that game. In Week 13 we faced the Dolphins and we looked at the calendar and thought this was going to be the team to beat since everyone else was kind of mediocre. We lost that game got back home around 2:30 in the morning. We woke up about 12 the next day and went to the studio to record “The Super Bowl Shuffle.”
We were like so what we lost. We will see those guys down the road. If they do their thing we will see them in the big game. We were looking for them. I am glad we didn’t see them because Dan Marino is a good friend of mine. I would have hated to put on Dan what I wanted to do to him. If he showed up it wouldn’t have been a nice day.
AE: Speaking of Super Bowl XX you guys beat up on the New England Patriots and you took home the MVP trophy. I am guessing 1985 was a great year for you.
RD: Yea it was a great year for me. That was my first award I received for a particular thing I did in a season. I led the league the year before and lead the league that year and I didn’t get anything for it. So for me it was my first award. I was really honored to win that MVP award in the Super Bowl.
AE: After playing with the Bears, you played with the 49ers, Colts, and Eagles. You even won another Super Bowl ring with the 49ers. How was it for you to adjust to playing for those different teams?
RD: No it wasn’t for me. God gave me the physical abilities to play football. You go out and give your best each week. Sometimes there are people who talk about their play and don’t match it with their performance on the field. That was the tough part. You try to work with people and tell them that where there is a will there is a way.
RD: Well I am a geek when it comes down to technology and tendencies and data. I would break a person down in about 15 minutes. The point is your ability can go to a certain extent. Your talent can go anywhere you want it to go. You look and listen and you start to know what you need to do.
You might be able to take those tendencies from a player and know about 80 percent of what they are going to do. So I don’t have to run crazy. For me when I start moving I am looking at 80 percent of what could take place and I’ll fight for the other 20 percent. You start to have fun during the game because you most likely know what will happen. That gives you longevity. If you are out there bouncing around and running around at some point the game catches up with you.
Everybody can play, but what level can you play at? That is the key for me to be the best you can be.
Hines Ward is a lot of things. He’s a first ballot Hall of Famer whose ferocious blocking skills redefined what it meant to play wide receiver in the NFL. Always camera-ready, Ward is a man of a thousand smiles. He just seems to have fun doing whatever it is he’s doing. Since retiring from football in 2011, Hines has made appearances on The Walking Dead, Dancing with the Stars, The Dark Knight Rises and Football Night in America. Dude knows how to stay busy.
Now Hines is looking to add one more title to his already impressive list of accomplishments: IRONMAN. Ward has partnered up with REFUEL | got chocolate milk? and has been training to prepare for the 2013 IRONMAN® World Championship triathlon that will take place in Hawaii this October. But Hines isn’t doing all this by himself. He’s taking three everyday athletes with him.
The journey will be featured in a new documentary web series called BECOME ONE, which will air on www.gotchocolatemilk.com. The three everyday athletes who will accompany Hines were announced at the 21st Annual Endurance LIVE awards gala presented by REFUEL | got chocolate milk?:
- Captain Eric McElvenny is a 29 year old marine from San Diego
- Joshua Kalb is a 24 year old medical student from Denver
- Chrisann Dalton is a 39 year old stay-at-home mom from Bedford, New Hampshire
Ward and company will be training with an elite group of athletes, sports dietitians and coaches, including eight-time IRONMAN triathlon champ Paula Newby-Fraser. After their strenuous workouts, they’ll be refueling by drinking low fat chocolate milk.
You know, I have to admit, that the first time I heard that chocolate milk was a good post-workout recovery beverage for triathlon-level athletes, I was a bit surprised. I mean, I love chocolate milk and all, but I have absolutely zero plans of training for the IRONMAN World Championship, a 140.6 mile triathlon that includes a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile marathon.
But there’s science behind it, man. Low fat chocolate milk is a natural source of protein that can help exhausted muscles recover while also providing essential fluids, electrolytes and calcium, potassium and magnesium. Who knew?!
I met up with Hines Ward at Club Nokia in LA just before the 21st Annual Endurance LIVE awards gala. We talked about the refueling properties of chocolate milk, his training schedule, the current state of leadership in the Pittsburgh Steelers locker room, athletic QBs, player safety, Ward’s Hollywood and political aspirations and a whole lot more. Here’s the interview:
And here’s the trailer for the upcoming BECOME ONE documentary series:
Thanks to the awesome folks at Crown Royal, I got to attend my first NBA All Star Game this weekend. The trip was a reward of sorts, a prize for winning the Capture the Crown scavenger hunt in Indy last year. Team Win (Myself, Nick Evans from Straitpinkie.com, David Dennis from The Smoking Section and Brittany Edwards from Taylor) totally dominated the competition. We had a lot of help from Miss Edwards, who knows a thing or two about NASCAR, and we all got to bask in the glory of our victory during this weekend’s festivities.
Crown Royal Reign On Event
Crown Royal is rolling out a new set of TV spots around the message “Reign On.” Featured in these spots is NBA legend and all around great storyteller Dr. J. He’s a new ambassador for the brand and he really fits this new “Reign On” message.
So on Saturday night, when the skills competition, three point shootout and slam dunk contest were going on, me and the Indy crew got to attend an exclusive event that introduced the new Reign On spots and featured Reign On stories from Terrence J and Dr. J. The night also included a solid set of tunes from hip-hop producer 9th Wonder (hat tip for including “Glow of Love” by Change, seriously who doesn’t love old Luther Vandross jams?) and a whisky tasting hosted by all-around badass Master of Whiskey Stephen Wilson.
Take a look at the Dr. J Reign On TV spot:
And here’s a behind the scene’s video to check out as well:
Meeting Dr. J
Julius Erving was all class, man. Just super affable, upbeat and approachable. When the Dr. entered the room, he had a certain grace and presence. An arrogance-free gravitas.
When I shook the guy’s hand, he almost reached by elbow. Even at age 65, he’s still an impressive physical sight. Huge wingspan, hands big enough to pick up a Buick, with a swagger of a guy who’s more familiar with greatness than you are, but he doesn’t need to remind you about it. He knows and so do you. Meeting Dr. J was definitely a highlight of the weekend.
Hearing his Reign On moment was a treat. The Doctor talked about his entry into professional basketball, when he was an alternate Olympian who made the squad and overheard all these guys saying how much they were going to make playing professional basketball. Erving, who hadn’t really considered a pro career, absolutely dominated this group of would-be professionals. That’s when he knew he was going to do some damage in the game of basketball. Just a great story to hear from him.
The 2013 NBA All Star Game
Drinking great whisky while meeting NBA legends was good times, but watching the 2013 NBA All Star Game live wasn’t too shabby either. Here are some general thoughts on the game:
Lob City Represented Well
I was looking forward to cheering for the West. It was basically Kevin and the Clakers. Sure, there were some garbage minutes played by San Antonio players and the like, but the starting all-LA plus Durant squad was just awesome. Blake had some monster lob city moments and a ferocious off the backboard jam near the end of the 4th quarter. Chris Paul just kept feeding people all night, and his 20 points and 15 assists earned him MVP honors. Lob City was in full effect in Houston.
Joakim Noah Is a Kind of a Punk
This guy. I mean he kept running around the court begging for the ball and whenever he got it, he usually missed. He was often out of position and out of control. At one point, things started to get a little chippy between Noah and CP3. Noah got a little physical and even ended up hitting CP3 in the mouth with his slop. Paul responded by draining a big three point shot in Noah’s face. It was sweet justice.
Kevin Durant Is a Freak Show
It’s not like this guy needs more hype, but man, there’s not enough superlatives to describe his level of play. He’s got such effortless hops and he finishes so strong. It seemed like he played half the game multiple feet above the rim and the other half draining jumpers. He finished with a game-high 30 points.
Kobe Only Took High Degree of Difficulty Fade Away Jumpers and Showcased His D
Kobe refused to take easy buckets all night. Whenever he did shoot, he opted for long distance fade away jumpers over unsuspecting opponents. He also showed off his defensive skills with not one, but two blocks on LeBron James.
Russell Westbrook Made the Most of His Minutes
He may have been a reserve guy, but whenever Westbrook was in, he just dominated. He created his own opportunities, and just scored points in bunches. I’ve never seen him play in person and of all the non-starters on the floor, I thought he was the most impressive.
Alicia Keys Is Kinda Awesome
I’ve never seen Alicia Keys perform live before, but man, she can bring it. She had the whole arena fired up with piano skills, a booming voice, some sweet dance moves and an all-around lovely skillset that may have catapulted her to my number one music crush. Watching Ne-Yo perform and then seeing Alicia was like watching a JV high school basketball team compete against the Miami Heat. Just total entertainment domination.
Thanks again to Crown Royal for an amazing weekend. Good times were had by all and it was an experience that Team Win from Indy won’t soon forget!
After all the Harbaugh brother hype, we actually get to watch a game on Sunday! The last of the football for a really long time. It’s a bittersweet moment; you get the culmination of a long season and the end pre-planned Sundays. Weekends will be wide open now.
I don’t really have a rooting interest in the Big Game. Not a big fan of the Ravens and not a big fan of 49er fans (where were you guys during the Shaun Hill era?). But rooting for injuries is just bad form, so I figure I’ll root for the team who gets in the whole first. I just want to see 60 minutes of interesting football.
Now as amazing as Joe Flacco has been throughout the playoffs, I think he could have a monster game in the Super Bowl and it still won’t be enough. The 49ers defense is younger, quicker, more physical, and one thing no one’s talking about, is the fact that this superior defensive squad will be playing on the fast track in New Orleans. A colleague of mine called this out and I think it’s pretty important.
The Ravens are grinder squad, built to play grinder games in the wintery conditions of the AFC North. The 49ers are younger, yes, and full sunshine and speedsters. From the QB to the D, and most skills players in between, San Francisco is going to play quicker on the turf.
I think it’ll be a pretty tight game. Low scoring to start. As the jitters settle, a back and forth scoring battle should unfold. We made our final prediction awhile back and sent it off to the fine folks and Crown Royal who’ve been in New Orleans throwing fun parties and stuffing Crown Royal bags ful of goodies to send off to our troops as part of the Crown Royals Heroes Project.
One of those Crown bags featured our prediction. Here’s Playmate Tiffany with the final reveal:
Photo Credits: AP on behalf of Crown Royal
If for some crazy reason we guessed the correct outcome of the game, we’ll get a bottle of Crown Royal XR, which is damn tasty, folks!
Enjoy the game!
Championship Week: 1-1
Season ATS: 136-120-5
Back in October, we interviewed Patrick Willis and he told us all about the Duracell Trust Your Power program. He also told us that Marshawn Lynch and Adrian Peterson were the two toughest guys to tackle in the NFL. During that same interview session, WIllis also fielded a call from Michael Oher, you know, The Blind Side guy. Well these guys were teammates at Ole Miss and both dudes faced a lot of challenges when they were growing up. As they get to square off against each other this Sunday, it’s worth sharing this surprise conversation they had when Oher called in to chat with Willis during his Duracell time:
I like the favorites, but the spread’s too damn high for the second game. Niners -4.5 and Ravens +10.
The Presidential Inauguration will be held in Washington DC January 21 on Martin Luther King Jr Day. The reelection and swearing in of America’s first African-American president 150 years after the Emancipation Proclamation signifies a major step forward for our country.
In commemoration of the United States’ perseverance and unity, the official theme for the inauguration is “Faith in America’s Future.” For those in Southern California unable to attend the festivities in our nation’s capital, there is an event on Sunday, January 20 that encapsulates the theme of “Faith in America’s Future.”
Thanks to Jeffrey Coprich and the Inner City Youth Foundation, the best local student athletes will be honored at the Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration & Inaugural Unsung Heroes Awards “An Evening of Champions” to be held at Celebrity Centre’s Garden Pavilion in Hollywood.
Award recipients will be recognized for their exceptional performance in the classroom, on the field and within the community.
Media coverage for the event will be provided by www.collegelevelathletes.com. Founded by former UC Davis wide receiver and kick returner Aaron Plunkett, CLA serves to empower the next generation of student athletes by providing a platform to gain exposure. Student athletes can create a free recruiting profile that provides coaches and recruiters better insight to their talent. CLA is dedicated to helping any athlete interested in competing at the college level.
Several of the student athletes to be honored are committed to big time college football programs. With quality young people like these, faith in the future is simple.
If you’re in the Hollywood area Sunday night, come on down to Garden Pavilion to the Unsung Heroes Awards Ceremony and celebrate student athletes every American can be proud of.
At Denver -9 Baltimore
Manning steamrolls at home.
Pick: Broncos -9
At San Francisco -3 Green Bay
Green Bay gets revenge.
Pick: Packers +3
At Atlanta -2.5 Seattle
Seattle confirms Atlanta’s playoff weakness.
Pick: Seahawks +2.5
At New England -9.5 Houston
Brady makes sure the Texans play from behind.
Pick: Pats -9.5