All posts in murf


i’m living the dream: football card edition

(courtesy photo)

Over the weekend, the wife and I sat down to watch the ESPN Films’ 30 for 30 documentary “You Don’t Know Bo.”

For those who aren’t familiar, it’s a detailed look into the mesmerizing two-sports career of Bo Jackson. During one of the early commercial breaks, I explained to my wife that Jackson is the reason, to this day, I stay away from the stock market.

Confused — as any reasonable human being would be — she struggled to figure out what a football/baseball player from my childhood could possibly have to do with how I choose to invest my money today.

I explained to her that when Jackson burst onto the scene, I was convinced he’d be one of the greatest to ever play professional sports. My eyes could hardly believe the amazing feats of speed and strength that Bo was able to accomplish with ease, so I decided to invest everything I could into his career.

That meant acquiring as many of his football and baseball cards as possible. Unfortunately though, that wasn’t going to be easy considering I was barely a teenager and was making next to nothing courtesy of my pitiful weekly allowance.

So I took matters into my own hands and sold several of my top rookie cards — which included Hall of Famers Ryne Sandburg and Tony Gwynn — to have enough cash to buy as many Jackson football and baseball cards as possible.

The crown jewel of those days was the 1990 Bo Jackson Black and White card by Score. This card was a must-have for any collector (in my 13-year-old eyes, at least) and it was only a matter of time before my stack of this particular card was going to help pay my way through college.

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the story of RGIII, the WWE … and me?

(photo by Brian Murphy)

It’s no secret by now that Washington Redskins defensive end Adam Carriker is a huge fan of professional wrestling.

In fact, I wrote an in-depth feature story about Carriker and his love affair with the squared circle back in 2010.

Well, since the 28-year-old suffered a torn quad tendon that prematurely ended his season during the second game of the season, he’s found an interesting way to keep himself busy — by co-hosting a weekly radio show called “4th and Pain” with Chuck Carroll.

Each week, Carriker and Carroll award an official WWE championship belt to the Redskins player they deemed who had the biggest impact in that week’s game. Previous winners this season include Alfred Morris (twice), Ryan Kerrigan (twice), Pierre Garcon, Lorenzo Alexander and Tyler Polumbus.

As you can see, while the rest of the football loving world has been focused on each and every snap taken by franchise quarterback Robert Griffin III, the guys from “4th and Pain” have gone out of their way to spread the love around.

Last week though, the inevitable happened — Griffin earned the belt after he was nearly perfect, completing 14 of 15 passes for 200 yards with four touchdowns as he torched the Philadelphia Eagles in Washington’s easy 31-7 victory.

A few days later, Carroll presented the championship belt to Griffin in an impromptu ceremony in the team’s locker room and that was that … until the powers that be at WWE decided to spotlight the occasion on this week’s episode of Monday Night Raw.

Not only did they show RGIII accepting the belt (and honoring John Cena in the process), but the WWE also used two of my photos of Griffin during the video package. It was definitely a cool moment to see my work from the sidelines appear on one of the most popular cable shows of all time,* and it was even sweeter because I was the one who first broke the story of Carriker’s obsession with professional wrestling back in ’10.

*Although, to be fair, as you can see from the screen capture at the top of this page, they did manage to misspell my first name. Oh well.

So congrats to the guys from “4th and Pain,” and thank you for sharing the moment with me.

And for those who missed it, here’s a link to the video.


why your team won’t win the super bowl in 2012

(photo by Brian Murphy)

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for the ninth-annual “Why your team won’t win the Super Bowl” column. So head to Las Vegas and put money on it – this is why your favorite football franchise won’t get it done this year.

Arizona Cardinals – A wise man once said, “If you have two starting quarterbacks, you don’t have one.”

Atlanta Falcons – No team loves to go for it on 4th-and-short more than Atlanta. In related news, no team fails to convert on 4th-and-short more than Atlanta.

Baltimore Ravens – Linebacker Terrell Suggs was named the NFL’s defensive player of the year in ’11 after posting a career-high 14 sacks. How did he celebrate? By tearing his Achilles tendon playing basketball.

Buffalo Bills – Talk about bang for your buck: no quarterback has thrown more interceptions (23) than Ryan Fitzpatrick since he signed his six-year, $59 million contract.

Carolina Panthers – With DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart and Mike Tolbert in the mix, the Panthers are loaded at running back. So naturally, their go-to play involves the quarterback keeping the ball and running it himself.

Chicago Bears – Over the last five seasons, receiver Brandon Marshall has proven to be a consistent producer in two categories – 1,000-yard seasons and off-the-field drama. Tough to decide which stat sheet is more impressive.

Cincinnati Bengals – The Bengals haven’t posted back-to-back winning seasons since 1981-82. Why change now?

Cleveland Browns – While the idea of a 28-year-old rookie quarterback is wonderful for the plot to a Disney movie, it’s terrifying in real life.

Dallas Cowboys – Can someone clarify if receiver Dez Bryant’s personal babysitter counts against the team’s 53-man roster or not? I’ve heard it both ways.

Denver Broncos – Peyton Manning is Denver’s best quarterback since John Elway. Sadly, at this point, Elway has the healthier neck between the two Hall of Famers.

Detroit Lions – Jim Schwartz can’t even get through a handshake with another coach without dicking it up.

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redskins 2012 media bowl recap

(courtesy photo)

For the first time ever, the Washington Redskins invited those media members who regularly cover the team to take to the field in a friendly flag football game dubbed the Media Bowl.

As someone who is heading into my eighth season covering the team, I was fortunate enough to earn an invite to this inaugural event which was held in the team’s brand-new facility known simply as the “practice bubble.”

Upon arriving at Redskins Park this past Saturday, I was informed that I was on the Burgundy Team (TV and web folks). Our opponents? The Gold Team (print and radio media).

After some light stretching and route running, everyone from both sides gathered for a quick rundown of the rules for this monumental occasion and the ceremonial coin toss. And with that, the game was officially underway.

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tiger woods wins at congressional

(photo by Brian Murphy)

Regardless of what some may think of how Tiger Woods carries himself away from the golf course, there’s little doubt that the world of golf is much more interesting when he’s competitive.

This weekend, Woods outlasted his competitors to win the AT&T National at Congressional Country Club for the second time in the six year history of the event. Just as importantly, the win was his third of the year and the 74th win of his career, which moved him past Jack Nicklaus into second place all time on the PGA Tour — eight short of Sam Snead’s record.

Woods, who also won the AT&T National in 2009, outlasted Bo Van Pelt on the final nine holes of the tournament for the victory.

“I remember there was a time when people were saying I could never win again,” Woods said. “That was, what? Six months ago? Here we are.”

While Woods is still a polarizing figure elsewhere, he’s seemingly always had a huge following locally — especially since he played such a key role in bringing the PGA Tour to the area. As the unofficial host of this tournament, Woods always has the biggest crowds following him.

And for the fourth time in the six-year history of the AT&T National, I was fortunate enough to cover the event. While cameras are not permitted on Congressional Country Club once the tournament officially begins, I was able to shoot photos during the Pro-Am last Wednesday.

For those interested, here is a link to my favorite photos I was able to capture of Tiger Woods during this year’s festivities.


my evening of hockey with barack obama

(photo by Toni Sandys)

Did I ever tell you about the time I took a three-foot-tall cutout of Barack Obama to a Washington Capitals playoff game? It turns out this isn’t something that happens every day and therefore, when someone does participate in such shenanigans, it doesn’t go unnoticed.

Specifically, this type of tomfoolery garners attention from the Washington Post (and also here, here and here), Puck Daddy, Pro Hockey Talk, Washington Times, ESPN’s Grantland, Toronto Sun, London Free Press, FOX Sports, Russian Machine Never Breaks, Clydeorama, We Love DC and countless others. Not only that, but I’m confident Barack Obama and I posed with at least 30 or so different Caps fans throughout the evening as well.

All of this came about because Boston goalie Tim Thomas refused to visit the White House with his teammates back in January. I mean, clearly it was his loss right? Thomas can’t imagine spending a few hours with the president of the United States, so I figured the least I could do was let him know what he was missing.

Next you thing you know, I’m at the Verizon Center with what has to be the largest Obama head known to man. Needless to say, hilarity ensued.

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merry christmas to my fellow homers

(photo by Brian Murphy)

The last time I saw Saint Nick, he wasn’t exactly in the jolliest of moods. In fact, he appeared fairly miserable while watching the hometown New York Giants self destruct against the Washington Redskins.

He wasn’t shouting obscenity-laced tirades like the bulk of the other fans in attendance at MetLife Stadium last weekend, but he clearly wasn’t thrilled with the effort being shown by a wannabe playoff team against a divisional rival whose fans have begun openly rooting for losses in hopes of securing a better draft pick.*

*Those fans are still morons, but that’s a story for another day.

But that was then and this is now. Hopefully Santa had a chance to drown his sorrows in a tall glass of eggnog or maybe he’s decided to join a winner and become a Redskins fan. Either way, on behalf of the big guy, let me take a moment to wish all of you a merry Christmas.

And if you don’t do the whole Christmas thing, that’s cool too. Enjoy your Chinese food and we’ll catch up with everyone in a few days.

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