Gotta Love a New Year!

Ice Bowl

On the TunneySide of Sports January 1, 2018 #673 Up next…Gotta Love a New Year!

After further review…Always loved a new year with new hopes, dreams, and challenges. However, before we move on from December 31st, allow me to reflect on the significance that date will always hold for me.

The Ice Bowl! Yes, fifty years ago yesterday I was in Green Bay, Wisconsin as part of the NFL officiating crew to work the Dallas Cowboys vs Green Bay Packers NFL  Championship game.  I didn’t expect to be there. For that 1967 season the NFL moved my position from field judge to referee, with no expectations of a playoff assignment. The phone call came on Tuesday of that week to “be in Green Bay by Saturday, December 30 as the alternate referee.” It was clear weather in Green bay when referee Norm Schachter, the rest of the crew, and I arrived at Austin Straubel International Airport, with the evening producing a beautifully bright moon.

Sunday morning, December 31st was a different story as the weather had dropped rapidly to freezing, and with me carrying California blood. Our entire crew was unprepared. Early the morning of the game, the entire crew knocked on the door of a locked Army-Navy store, whose owner was inside doing end-of-the-year inventory. Buying all the long-johns, mittens (no Gore Tex yet), and ear muffs, we packed up and headed for Lambeau Field to what has become the NFL’s most historic game – The Ice Bowl! The weather reportedly was 15-20 degrees below with wind chill of minus 35 degrees. My toes, nose and fingers are still cold just thinking about it!!

Sunday morning, December 31, 1988, the Fog Bowl was another historic game. This time between the Philadelphia Eagles vs the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field, which sits adjacent to Lake Michigan. With the Windy City weather cold, but reasonable, the first half of this NFC Divisional game moved along without incident. As we walked onto the field to start the second half, the field was thick with fog – the goal posts at each end of the field barely visible. Do we play, delay or even postpone? As referee it was my decision to make. However, considering that none of us, individually, is as strong as all of us, I consulted with the NFL’s representative, Vice President Don Weiss; and then, of course, the two head coaches – Buddy Ryan of the Eagles and Mike Ditka of the Bears. All were in agreement that we should play, and we did.

Final scores in these two games become less significant after all these years, unless your T*E*A*M lost. What was significant was the question: do we continue to play with weather conditions of this nature? In football, rightly or wrongly, we play!

Will you log-in your remembrances of either of these two games?

3D-Happy-New-Year-2018-Images

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To contact Jim, go to JimTunney.com or email Jim@JimTunney.com.

Jim’s books are full of inspiration and interesting stories. Please visit his online store to learn more.

Another 101 Best of TunneySide of Sports

Be sure to get Jim’s book ‘Another 101 Best of TunneySide of Sports’ by clicking this link or using the email above to contact Jim directly.

These TunneySides take issues from real-life situations and relate them as inspiration for the betterment of others.

Jim is available for speaking engagements on leadership and T*E*A*M Building. His books are available for $20 which includes shipping and tax. The Tunney Bobblehead is available for $30. Please visit JimTunney.comThank you!

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And a Merry Christmas!

On the TunneySide of Sports December 25, 2017 #672 Up next…And a Merry Christmas!

On the TunneySide of Sports December 25, 2017 #672 Up next…And a Merry Christmas!

After further review…To all who are reading this “TunneySide of Sports” today, we wish you a blessed day – for this is the birthday of Jesus as Christians celebrate this day. But whatever your faith, this is a joyous time of the year. Despite the personal hardships or the struggles, we face in the world, today is a day we need to take time to give thanks.

Speaking of which, let me give a huge THANKS to YOU –the readers of this weekly column for your support. As you will note, this is column number 672. As of January 2018, this column will be 13 years old, and I have been privileged to write one every week.
While the National Football League has its difficulties on and off the field, I am proud to have been an NFL on-field official for 31 years. I met some wonderful players and coaches as well as officials during my 57-year association with the league. I was fortunate to have officiated four Super Bowl games as well as 10 championship games and 25 Monday Night Football games, which during my career was the only night game played. There are two Monday night games tonight as well as the twelve NFL games played yesterday — Christmas Eve day. That means that fourteen of the seventeen NFL crews were away from their families during that time.

Christmas is meant to be for families celebrating together, but for these 112 officials (fourteen crews of eight) they are in meetings or on a football field, instead of being with their families. It happened to me more than a few times – flying on Christmas Eve day and/or officiated on Christmas Day, or flying on Christmas Day to officiate a game on December 26th. There is nothing so difficult as to not be at home with your children when Santa arrives.

Let me dedicate this Christmas to my family that carried on those days without me — my four children, Maureen, Michael, Mark, and Janet who I have missed being with on that glorious morning. To my sisters, Joanne and Loretta, and brother Peter and their families who when we were younger would often celebrate a Christmas dinner, at our mom’s of course – but with me in an airplane or at an NFL game. Regrets, not apologies, but only wish to have been with all of you on Christmas.

Will you log-in, after you celebrate your Christmas, your feelings about Christmas with family?

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To contact Jim, go to JimTunney.com or email Jim@JimTunney.com.

Jim’s books are full of inspiration and interesting stories. Please visit his online store to learn more.

Another 101 Best of TunneySide of Sports

Be sure to get Jim’s book ‘Another 101 Best of TunneySide of Sports’ by clicking this link or using the email above to contact Jim directly.

These TunneySides take issues from real-life situations and relate them as inspiration for the betterment of others.

Jim is available for speaking engagements on leadership and T*E*A*M Building. His books are available for $20 which includes shipping and tax. The Tunney Bobblehead is available for $30. Please visit JimTunney.comThank you!

Posted in Tunney Side of Sports Columns | Tagged | Leave a comment

Heisman Trophy’s Higher Standards

TunneySide of Sports: Heisman Trophy’s higher standards

On the TunneySide of Sports December 18, 2017 #671 Up next…Heisman Trophy’s higher standards

After further review…Baker Mayfield was awarded the Heisman Trophy for his stellar 2017 season as the quarterback for the University of Oklahoma. Mayfield is a senior student-athlete at O.U. It delighted this writer that the award went to a senior, and not an underclassman, as has been the recent trend.

Mayfield had a storied career and now can add being the first walk-on to win this award. He received the third-highest number of votes in Heisman history. Mayfield is the first senior since 2006 to be awarded this prestigious honor.

The TunneySide has always believed that the Heisman should go to a senior, whose college eligibility has been exhausted. The Heisman selection committee, created by the Downtown Athletic Club in 1935 — when Penn’s Jay Berwanger was the first recipient — has stuck by its creed of selecting the “most valuable college football player whose performance exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity.”

It’s that last part that has come into question with Mayfield. During a November game with the University of Kansas, the Jayhawks’ captain refused to shake hands with Mayfield during the pre-game coin toss. Late in that game when the Sooners were assured of the win, Mayfield grabbed his crotch and cursed across the field at the Kansas sidelines.

Sooners coach Lincoln Riley suspended Mayfield from the starting lineup and removed him as captain for their next game, although Mayfield did play later in that game and threw for three touchdowns. Mayfield has apologized for this abhorrent behavior and some have just passed it off as “college-kid” antics.

Riley, at 33, is just 11 years older than Mayfield. When the committee awarded the Heisman Trophy to Navy’s Roger Staubach (1965) and Stanford’s Jim Plunkett (1970), the integrity component was held to a higher standard. It is the hope here that Mayfield’s career, be it in the NFL or elsewhere, guides him in the direction of moral integrity. For some Heisman winners in recent years, it hasn’t.

But the issue worth celebrating here is the award going to a senior, not an underclassman. Also interesting is that 2016 Heisman winner, Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson, who won it as a junior, finished third in 2017. Did Jackson’s play this year become that much worse than in 2016?

There are at least a dozen senior players every year that are worthy of Heisman consideration. Despite the polarizing behavior of Mayfield, it is good to see a senior recognized with college football’s highest honor. Here’s hoping he holds himself to that high standard.

Will you log-in your feelings about the process of awarding the Heisman Trophy?

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To contact Jim, go to JimTunney.com or email Jim@JimTunney.com.

Jim’s books are full of inspiration and interesting stories. Please visit his online store to learn more.

Another 101 Best of TunneySide of Sports

Be sure to get Jim’s book ‘Another 101 Best of TunneySide of Sports’ by clicking this link or using the email above to contact Jim directly.

These TunneySides take issues from real-life situations and relate them as inspiration for the betterment of others.

Jim is available for speaking engagements on leadership and T*E*A*M Building. His books are available for $20 which includes shipping and tax. The Tunney Bobblehead is available for $30. Please visit JimTunney.comThank you!

Posted in Sports, Tunney Side of Sports Columns | Leave a comment