Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Interview: Ed Newman, Super Champ Turned Judge

What do NFL players do when they retire? Coaching, broadcasting, and sales are the usual routes but that was not good enough for Ed Newman. Or should I say Judge Ed Newman. Former four time pro-bowler and Super Bowl champion, Newman a beloved former Miami Dolphin is ensuring the law off the field and in the courtroom. We met up with Newman to get more about his story.

1)      Did you grow up playing football and when did it become serious for you?
We played tackle football in  the neighborhood before I was 14.  I joined the middle school  team as an 8th grader.  I always wanted to be the best, so, sure, I was serious about all sports from the first.

2)      You stayed with one team your entire career. Did that make your connection to the Dolphins stronger? Are you still around the team at all today?
I bleed Aqua and Orange blood.  I love the team.  I watch most of their games.  There is a pretty strong Dolphin Alumni group and we work well with Dolphins management doing charity events, and things for the community.

 3)      You won a Super Bowl and made 4 Pro Bowls. What were those experiences like?
There is nothing better than being part of a world champion team.  The effort to get to the pinnacle is huge, so earning the ultimate trophy is incredibly gratifying.  Teammates, fans, coaches, family members, friends are all patting you on the back.  It’s in the record books – forever.  I’ve got the rings and they get noticed.  I remember in Super Bowl VIII against the Vikings how focused we were.  The last 10 seconds on the clock felt like 10 weeks to me.  I was euphoric.  Nothing is better.  The Pro Bowls were more about pride.  I was a modest player.  I worked so hard to excel.  It was a great thing to have all that work pay off with peers saying that you are the greatest at that time in that position.  All Pro status is a recognition that endures.

4)      After you retired were you certain you wanted to be a judge?
No, but I was certain that I wanted to litigate.  I dreamed of being a judge, and then I made it happen with a successful election in 1994.

5)      Do you use any skills from the NFL in the courtroom (obviously not hitting pads!).
I try to be efficient.  There is preparation.  There are goals.  You must stay within rules.  Mental mistakes are the most reprehensible.  Grow by experience and gain wisdom along the way.  Try to outperform your opponent.  Be smart.

 6)      Knowing where you are today; would you have considered skipping the NFL and just doing your current work?
Football is a young person’s game.  I would not change what I had for anything.  I wish that I had greater durability to do it even longer.  The reputation I gained as a ball player helped me to become a judge, and remains with me today.  Lawyering and judging are skills that last until retirement.  So, while I am very happy now, I would never jump over my football days, if I could.

7)      What is one piece of advice you would have for young players entering the NFL today?
Keep your head on a swivel.  Look out for and avoid danger all the time.  Be as physically and mentally prepared for the game as you can be.  Bring the battle to the opponent.  Never underestimate your opponent.  Remember that you are one member of a team.  Be humble.  Lead by example.  Always try to do better, even if you are fortunate enough to be World Champions.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Rosen Staying to Avoid Browns?

This is going to be a story but right now it concerns potential top pick MoT, UCLA star QB Josh Rosen. Read more HERE.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Interview: Chicago Sky's President Adam Fox

Being the father of two young girls I have become more involved with Women's Basketball. It is easy out here in Minnesota because the Lynx are seemingly always competing for a title. Helps to have Maya Moore and Lindsay Whalen. But the Chicago Sky sparked my interest when I found out that their President was Adam Fox, a nice Jewish guy from the Chicago suburbs. Fox has brought some innovative thinking to the team, which stems from his days with the Chicago Wolves (AHL). We spoke to Fox about his journey and the future of the WNBA.

1) What led you to President of the Sky?
I was involved with hockey for 14 years with the Chicago Wolves. Through mutual friends, they arranged a breakfast and met Michael Alter. We discussed what made the Wolves successful but in the end it was not a match and we left saying good luck to each other. Fast forward a couple years I had a voicemail about another breakfast and got the job offer. I consulted my wife and friends, I thought about how I could make this work and eventually accepted the opportunity and joined the Sky. At the time I was the COO and after a couple of years I moved into the role of President.

2) Was this something you have always wanted to do?
I never knew where my journey would take me. I had a typical young Jewish kids path; law school. One summer I had the opportunity to join a college buddy's older brother doing sports marketing and we toured the country. It was just to make some extra money but it turned into something really cool. I took a leave of absence from law school. Got a job in ticket sales with the Wolves and moved up. I was very fortunate.
3) Does the Sky have a relationship with the Bulls?
Nothing formal. The ownership groups know each other. I know Michael Reinsdorf and the front office. But there is not a lot of work between the two.

4) What is the outlook for the Sky at the moment?
We will be a really good team this year. We set a good course with Coach [Amber] Stocks, which also includes young leaders and talented core. By the end of the year we were playing really well. We had a slow start but played really well the last half. This year we are picking 3rd and 4th so we can build on our young talent.
5) What was your Jewish upbringing like?
It was a typical Jewish upbringing. We did all the holidays. Went to Hebrew school and I was Bar Mitzvahed. In those days Hebrew school two days a week and Sundays; kids dreaded it. We all went through that period. Judaism has always been a part of my life but more so culturally. I am not someone who attends services regularly but I have been there a lot recently. My youngest daughter had her Bat Mitzvah. I have to say Friday night services at our temple were warm and comfortable. People felt really good and our rabbi did a great job. I was also at temple for the Hanukkah celebration and it is the almost great holiday that we have. Our group always says it was really fun..sorta.

6) Do you think it will be more common for WNBA players to be bought out by oversees teams to not play the WNBA season?
If it does happen it’ll be few and far between. A lot of the players in the States want the chance to build on whats going on and its very special. But the chance to preserve one's body and build longer career is tempting. But periodically it'll happen.
7) Where will the WNBA be 10 years from now?
More people will be digging it. We are building a critical mass of acceptance. Once the younger generation becomes accustomed to seeing women playing basketball, it will really grow bigger than it is today.

Rosen Number 1?

More and more mock drafts are predicting UCLA Quarterback Josh Rosen as the 1st overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft. Who has the first pick? Looking pretty good that it'll be the Cleveland Browns. Read more HERE.

Cammalleri Traded (Belated)

We forgot to note that JNHLer Mike Cammalleri was traded from the Kings to the Oilers. Read more HERE.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Kinsler Traded

Image result for ian kinsler 

All Star 2nd baseman Ian Kinsler has been traded to the Angels. Click HERE for more.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Interview: Former NHLer Colby Cohen

Recently, I have spent some time reaching out to current and former Jewish NHLers. I got to speak with Colby Cohen. Cohen was a phenom at a young age and his tremendous skill led him to the NHL. Unfortunately, he didn't stay too long. He shared his story with me and some advice for up and coming young hockey players. Cohen is a great guy and I was honored to interview him.

1) How did you get into Hockey?  
I grew up around the sport. My mother and father were in involved. My mother was close to the Flyers organization and my father played himself. For any American kid, when it comes to hockey, its usually the parents leading the way. I have to give credit to my parents.
2) When did you realize your path would take you to the NHL? 
When I was younger it was my dream to play in the NHL. I grew up watching the Flyers. As a kid you don't realize how far fetched that idea is but you play believing the NHL is possible. It become more of a reality when I was a Sophomore in High School. I got on the radar and it became more realistic. BU started recruiting me as well as the US development team.
3) What was the most difficult thing about sticking in the NHL? Any advice for young hockey players? 
In all fairness I wouldn’t say that I was able to stick in the NHL. My advice for young hockey players would be that plenty of guys can make the NHL. But its the consistency and putting your foot on the pedal that make the great players. Once you get there, you should work even harder to stay there.
4) What are you up to these days? 
I am in broadcasting and work for an array of networks. I got to cover the Frozen Four, Regionals, and the  Olympics. Also, I am part owner of clothing company and we are growing. Its called Endeavor Athletic.

5) When aren't a part of the game of hockey, what can you be found doing for fun? 
I spend a lot of time with my dog and being outside. I continue to workout quite a bit.
6) What was your Jewish life like growing up? 
I grew up in a Jewish household. Both of my parents are Jewish. We went to Temple and celebrated the High Holidays. I had to make a decision a a young age between hockey and Hebrew school. And that was my path, but even today this day there is a Jewish twist at all the holidays including Thanksgiving. I identify as Jewish. I wanted to go to Israel with US team but I wasn’t ready to go. I take a lot of pride in being one of the only Jewish players to play on that level.
7) Greatest Hockey player of this generation? Why? 
I grew up watching LeClair, Lindros, Lemieux and was a fan at a young age. And Joe Sakic too. But then you become one of the guys. I got to play with Sakic and [Adam] Foote. I had their posters above my bed. The best player of the last ten years probably has to be Sidney Crosby. There is a case for Ovechkin and Kane but after all Crosby has done and all the accomplishments its got to be Crosby. Connor McDavid is playing at a higher speed and is a special player in his generation. The game is changing because it has too. I see things differently than I did as a kid.
8) Anything else TGR should know? Where can we find you on social media?
Yeah!  Check out my clothing company www.Endeavorathletic.com. And you can find me on Twitter (@Colbycohen36) and Instagram (@Colbycohen_) too!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Bercovici Cut

Looking less likely that former ASU QB Mike Bercovici will make the NFL. I assume he makes one last play to make a squad next season, but he was recently cut by the Cardinals, his 2nd NFL practice squad. Read more HERE.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Interview: The Jewish Canon David Starr

For my birthday my wife bought me tickets to my first Independent Wrestling show. Props to her for providing me with one of the most fun nights of my life. I had a feeling Jewish wrestler Colt Cabana would be there in his hometown of Chicago. But then came out this wrestler who ran down a list of his nicknames (part of his gimmick). One of them was "The Jewish Canon." I looked at my wife who braved out the experience and said "I have to meet him." After the show I was speaking with Colt Cabana (checkout his new book on ColtMerch.com) and he introduced me to The Jewish Canon, David Starr. Starr was one of the highlights of the show for the promotion AAWrestling. After reading his twitter feed I saw how proud he was about his Judaism and we got to talking. TGR fans I want to introduce you to Your Favorite Wrestler's Favorite Wrestler, the King of Taunt, the Product, the 104 Minute Man, the Cream in Your Coffee, Mr. Americanrana, The Jewish Canon; David Starr. (Photos by John Moss).

1) Tell TGR about yourself.
I’m a 26 year old professional wrestler born in Philadelphia. I’ve been wrestling since I was 7 years old all the way through University at Elizabethtown College where I studied mathematics and now as a professional.

2) When and how did you get into professional wrestling?
Started professional wrestling when I was 20 in January 2012. I had my very first match the day before my 21st birthday after becoming the fastest graduate in the history of the famed Wild Samoan Training Center (Allentown, PA) on February 18, 2012. 

I loved pro wrestling since I saw Wrestlemania 12 in 1996. I became a passionate fan and eventually garnered up the courage to really think about it as a career following the CM Punk “Pipebomb promo” on June 27, 2011. 

3) You are from Philly. Do you still wrestler there and whats the Philly wrestling scene like?
I rarely wrestle locally, other than for Combat Zone Wrestling (located in South Jersey). Philadelphia is the best place to be for pro wrestling. Between its history, passion and centralized location between major wrestling hot spots Philadelphia is the place to be.

4) It seems you are very proud of your Jewish heritage (you wear a Star of David on your trunks, your in-ring name, etc). What was your Jewish life like growing up and today?
I’m extremely proud of who I am. Jewish life was pretty good for the most part. There were obviously plenty of times where people looked down on me because I wasn’t Christian like most the other kids and families, but overall I didn’t truly suffer from discrimination until I was exposed to the real world after high school. When I was in college, at a private mostly white Christian school near Hershey, PA, I received death threats and hate mail because of my Judaism. Luckily my true friends had my back and I had a good support system at home as well.

Today it’s still mostly good, even in the scary troubling times that we are clearly in. As much as Anti-Semitism and hate groups in general seem to be emboldened these days, there’s also a good group resisting it. 

5) Have you been to Israel? If so, when and if not do you want to go? Have you ever wrestled there?
I was in Israel for wrestling in July 2017. It was the time of my life. I stayed in Tel Aviv and went to Jerusalem. It was amazing. I hope to go back someday soon!

6) You are vocal on social media against antisemitism. Is that a big issue in the wrestling world? In the locker room or fans?
Wrestling seems to allow more prejudice and discrimination because throughout the history of the sport, we have aimed to appeal to the lowest common denominator. I feel that in all walks of life we do not need to perpetuate negative stereotypes towards any group of people. What’s the point in that? Why accept that in any form? It’s not like a majority of wrestling fans are bigots, but there’s still an overall acceptance of that culture. That’s what I believe needs to end.

7) You were recently on a show with Colt Cabana, who also talks about being a Jewish wrestler. Have you two ever tagged together?
We have never worked together in any capacity. I respect Colt as a performer and as a businessman. I’ve been fortunate enough to share many locker rooms with him and pick his brain on multiple occasions. Great guy.

8) Speaking of Jewish wrestlers are you more of a Macho Man, Goldberg or Paul Heyman Guy?
All the above!

9) What are your goals in Professional Wrestling?
To be happy, have fun and to continue to be able to support myself financially. 

10) Where can we find you on social media and anything you want to plug?