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GDG rundown for the weekend of Feb. 16th-18th

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@GamedayGold
This week is all about heart.  From the love we share to the fight we show, it’s a week to express ourselves.  Eric and Larry show us all some love with another week of captivating sports banter.  Eric’s at the Downtown Minneapolis studio, while Larry has returned to the Desert ahead of his trip to cover the NBA All-Star Game.  They dig into the recent coaching decision by the Vikings, the controversy surrounding a Flip Saunders tribute, and a big week for Larry, Jr.  Plus, GDG’s Scott Taylor joins the fellas to look at the postseason chances of some Western Conference squads (including the Wild) and a potential new franchise for the NHL.

Bonded in Matrimony…and Offensive Scheme
Segment 1: Love is definitely in the air.  In fact, there’s so much love that one of our hosts recently tied the knot.  Find out which GDG personality walked down the isle.  Then, what do the fellas think about the Vikings’ new offensive coordinator hire?  Did the team handle it well?

 

Wolves’ Tribute Not Attended By AllSegment 2: Ahead of Thursday night’s game with the Lakers, the Timberwolves gave a stirring tribute to the late Flip Saunders.  However, two notable names weren’t present for the ceremony.  What do the guys think of Kevin Garnett and Sam Mitchell not being at Target Center?

 

Larry, Jr. Makes Some HeadlinesSegment 3: Larry’s son had a phenomenal week.  Larry, Jr. went out and picked up a trophy, winning this year’s team edition of the PGA’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.  He also made a big announcement this week.  We hear that from the Arizona Cardinals’ new coach, Steve Wilks.  And can the Cardinals keep up with the new-look NFC West?

 

Space Needle Hockey?  GDG’s Scott Taylor Talks ExpansionSegment 4: The NBA is in its All-Star Break, so the NHL gets to show its stuff over the weekend.  And the league could be on the cusp of growing.  Our resident hockey expert, Scott Taylor, joins the program to answer whether Seattle is primed to become the league’s 32nd franchise.  If that happens, can that organization be as good as quickly as Vegas?

 

Scott Taylor Predicts the Playoff Futures Out WestSegment 5: Enough with the ice of the future.  Eric, Larry, and Scott Taylor bring it back to the NHL’s present day.  Is the Blackhawks’ tremendous run coming to an end?  Can the L.A. Kings get back into the postseason mix?  And what can the Wild do to hold on to one of those conference Wild Card spots?  Plus, they get some talk in on the impact of the Toronto Raptors.

 

Stars Shining Out in SoCal
Segment 6: Southern California is hosting a lot of sports celebrities this weekend.  Larry describes the star power descending on Los Angeles with the NBA All-Star Game and the PGA’s Genesis Open.  Which NBA teams are making waves going into the Break?  Where can we watch our Thursday night NFL games in the near future?

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Larry Fitzgerald Jr. wins AT&T-Pro Am

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By Larry Fitzgerald
February 6, 2018
GAMEDAY GOLD
@FitzBeatSr

Experience is a wonderful thing. I’m a strong believer in that and how preparation meets opportunity. Larry Fitzgerald Jr. one week after covering Super Bowl LII in his hometown teamed up with PGA Tour Pro Kevin Streelman to win the prestigious AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am by seven shots at -41.

The AT&T is one of the most famous and recognized PGA tournaments in the world of golf. Since 1937 they have been playing golf on the banks of the Pacific Ocean on this scenic, breathtaking location. Once called the Bing Crosby, named after the legendary entertainer, this tournament’s history speaks for itself.

Larry Fitzgerald Jr. holds the winning crystal trophy from the 2018 AT&T Pro-Am golf tournament at Pebble Beach

Larry Jr. Wins the ATT Pro-Am at Pebble Beach

Last year Fitzgerald and Streelman were close — they finished second. But as the Philadelphia Eagles’ 41-33 win avenged a previous Super Bowl loss to the Patriots, Streelman and Fitzgerald dominated the field this time around.
Fitzgerald is the first Black man to win this tournament, and he’s just the third NFL player ever to win it since John Brodie and Dan Marino in 1988 some 30 years ago. Fitzgerald is just the seventh pro athlete to capture the AT&T.

I remember years ago when he was a child taking Larry Jr. to Hiawatha Golf Course when I was trying to practice chipping and putting between jobs. In 1999 the great Tiger Woods had his Tiger Woods Foundation Clinic at Hiawatha Golf Course, and I made certain that my two sons Marcus and Larry were there, where they learned a lot. I have long believed that teaching children how to dream and exposing them to greatness has its rewards.

Woods has won 14 majors, and one of those Majors was the 2005 United States Open at Pebble Beach. Woods won by a record 15 shots that summer.

Playing in the NFL with the Arizona Cardinals, where golf is 365 days a year in the Grand Canyon state, the golf bug has bitten Larry Jr. the last five to seven years, and he’s now obviously a pretty good player. Fitzgerald will decide soon if he will continue his NFL career. After 14 seasons at age 34, Fitzgerald is third all-time in receptions (1,234) and yards receiving (15,545), and he is eighth in touchdown receptions with 110.

 

 

 

 

 

Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, on WDGY-AM 740 Monday-Friday at 12:17 pm and 4:17 pm, and at www.Gamedaygold.com. He also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2). Follow him on Twitter at FitzBeatSr. Larry welcomes reader responses to info@larry-fitzgerald.com, or visit www.Larry-Fitzgerald.com.

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Eric Nelson

SPORTS NUGGETS: Home cooking has been tasty for the Timberwolves and Wild

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By Eric Nelson
February 14, 2018
GAMEDAY GOLD

 

MINNEAPOLIS – Sports Nuggets from the North Star State…

•Home Cooking I: The Minnesota Wild are one of the top home teams in the NHL. After Tuesday’s 3-2 win over the NY Rangers, the Wild are 20-4-5 at the Xcel Energy Center and 10-0-3 in their last 13 games on home ice. But the Wild’s success vanishes when they leave the 651 area code as Minnesota is a sub-par 11-15-1 on the road…

•Home Cooking II: The Timberwolves are in the same boat as the Wild. Minnesota had won 13 straight at Target Center until losing to Houston on Tuesday 126-108. The T’Wolves are 23-7 in their renovated arena this season – the best home record in the Western Conference. But it’s a much different story when they leave the 612 area code. Minnesota is 12-18 on the road, including losses to bottom feeding teams such as Atlanta, Orlando, Brooklyn, Chicago and Phoenix…

•Lofty Ranking: Minnesota is 7th in this week’s USA Today NBA power rankings. Golden State is number 1 followed by Houston and Toronto…

•Freefall: Hard to believe the Gopher basketball team was ranked 12th entering their November 29 game against number 10 Miami. Minnesota lost to the Hurricanes and since then has gone downhill faster than Lindsey Vonn in an Olympic ski race. The Gophers (14-14/3-12) have lost eight straight games and might not even make the NIT…

•NFL Drama: The New Orleans-Minnesota playoff game is number 2 in the NFL Network’s Top 10 Games of the Year. The miraculous Case Keenum to Stefon Diggs walk-off win will be replayed on NFLN Friday at 12 pm CT. Super Bowl LII between New England and Philadelphia was chosen the number 1 game…

•Hoosier Hospitality: Just a hunch, but I am guessing that if Josh McDaniels goes to the NFL Combine in Indianapolis he won’t be a popular guy…

•False ID: The way McDaniels left the Colts at the coaching alter did not sit well with folks in Indy. He may want to dress incognito and use a fake name when checking into his hotel…

•Smart Move: On the flip side, maybe McDaniels realized the Colts situation was a mess and figured his best option was to stay in New England. The foggy future of Colts QB Andrew Luck would make any potential coach skittish…

•Soccer Progress: If you’ve driven on I-94 between Minneapolis and St. Paul it is impossible to miss the construction of Allianz Field. The future $200 million home of Minnesota United FC is rising from the Midway soil and will open in 2019. The shape of the venue is now visible and soon the Twin Cities will have a brand new soccer playpen…

•Kick Start: Minn U opens the 2018 season on the road against the San Jose Earthquakes on March 3. The Loons home opener is March 17 against the Chicago Fire at TCF Bank Stadium…

•Durable Dome: The Houston Astrodome might be the “eighth wonder of the world,” but the former home of the Astros and Oilers has been vacant since 2009 and is dwarfed by its next door neighbor, NRG Stadium. According to the Houston Chronicle that is going to change. Harris County has approved a $105 million plan to renovate the Astrodome into a revenue-generating event and convention space that will host conferences and festivals…

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GDG rundown for the weekend of Feb. 9th-11th

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@GamedayGold

How do you come off of the “hustle-and-bustle” high of hosting a Super Bowl?  Well, the Twin Cities does have some other sports news going on.  Eric and Larry are back in the Downtown Minneapolis studio to bring you up-to-date on all of the headlines.  Of course, they break down everything that happened from the week of Super Bowl LII, from the game to the atmosphere to the security.  However, that’s not all that we’ll bring you this week.  The guys will touch on the Wild, Wolves, and Gopher men’s hoops.  Plus, USA Today baseball writer Bob Nightengale looks into the quiet offseason and ahead to Spring Training.

Twin Cities Get Their Super Bowl Grades
Segment 1: The Twin Cities survived its second time hosting a Super Bowl.  How did it do?  The guys were all over the place during the festivities, so they had a unique vantage point for everything that happened.

 

Coordinating the Next Move
Segment 2: One of the biggest stories to come post-Super Bowl was the U-turn that Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels made regarding the Indianapolis head coaching job.  Did he make the right decision?  What about the backlash?  Our hosts dig into the messy scenario.  Then, do coordinators looking at the next position cost their current teams in the postseason?

 

The Eagles Fly to their First Lombardi Trophy
Segment 3: Going back to the game last Sunday, we hear from a couple of guys that took in everything a Minneapolis Super Bowl had to offer…Kansas City’s newest starting QB, Pat Mahomes, and Twin Cites native Larry Fitzgerald, Jr.  After that, it’s time to give some love to the Eagles.  How did the team bring Philadelphia its first NFL title since 1960?

 

More to Winter Than Just Football
Segment 4: The Winter Olympics get underway in South Korea.  The Wild are still hovering close to the postseason cut line as the season slides within the two-month mark to go.  The Wolves are trying to overcome their struggles with the East and on the road.  Eric and Larry dive into some of the other Winter sports that are emerging into the spotlight.

 

Where’s the Heat?  Bob Nightengale Talks MLB Moves and Spring Training
Segment 5: One thing to look forward to after football ends?  That would be the sounds and sights of Spring Training.  But why are there so many unsigned free agents as we close in on pitchers and catcher reporting?  USA Today‘s Bob Nightengale joins the program to discuss the lukewarm Hot Stove.  Plus, how has the MLB preseason turned a profit?

 

Gopher Hoops in Free Fall; NFL Legends Shine
Segment 6: The Gopher men’s basketball team is having an awful time of it in the Big Ten.  Will it turn before the end of the season?  Then, it’s back to the pigskin.  The latest class to be enshrined in the NFL Hall of Fame was announced.  Plus, Larry gives Eric some hard-hitting questions about the league.

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Eric Nelson

SPORTS NUGGETS: No joy of six for Patriots thanks to Eagles epic effort

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By Eric Nelson
February 7, 2018
GAMEDAY GOLD

 

MINNEAPOLIS – Sports Nuggets from Super Sota…

•Philly’s Apex: Forget about Rocky. Forget about the Liberty Bell. Forget about the Declaration of Independence. The new pinnacle moment in Philadelphia history is the Eagles winning Super Bowl LII…

•Uncharted Waters: For the first time in franchise history Philadelphia is a Super Bowl champ. After waiting for decades, the Eagles finally took a confetti shower Sunday night after their dramatic 41-33 win over New England at US Bank Stadium…

•Epic Eagles: Philadelphia QB Nick Foles was the unlikely Super Bowl MVP. Foles threw for 373 yards and three touchdowns, and also had a TD catch. Foles put an exclamation mark on a storybook season with his performance. In a span of two months Foles went from back up to Super Bowl champ. Foles is a real-life Rocky who quickly achieved legendary status in Philly. He shined in the Super spotlight, and now the Eagles are on top of the NFL mountain…

•Super Spectacle: If you are a fan of explosive, chunk plays then this Super Bowl was a dream game. The Eagles and Patriots put up cartoon-like numbers, combining for an NFL record 1,151 yards. This was non-stop, fast break football…

•Super Denial: Going into the game it was all about the joy of six for the Patriots who were trying to win their sixth Super Bowl. Of course, the Eagles kept that from happening and Pittsburgh is still the only team with six Lombardi Trophy’s…

•Cameo Appearance: It was cool seeing the Lombardi Trophy in the Twin Cities, but for Viking fans it’s a cruel tease. This is only the second time the iconic hardware has been on Minnesota soil. The other was in 1992 when Super Bowl XXVI was played at the Metrodome. The Vikings are one of 12 teams who have never won the Lombardi Trophy…

Philadelphia HC Doug Pederson with Lombardi Trophy after Super Bowl LII

Philadelphia Eagles Head Coach, Doug Pederson, hoists the hard-earned hardware

•Philly Fanatics: There were clearly more Philadelphia fans than New England supporters at USBS. Eagle fans were loud and proud – making their presence known throughout the game…

•Good Job: Kudos to the Twin Cities for rising to the occasion and putting on a fabulous show. Super Bowl LII went off with no major glitches. Crew 52 Volunteers were incredibly friendly, security was visible and efficient, and there were plenty of cool indoor and outdoor options for everyone – from Minneapolis to St. Paul to the Mall of America…

•Cash Cow: Clearly MOA got a huge Super Bowl bounce. The Eagles and Patriots both stayed at hotels connected to MOA, radio row was located there and the ginormous shopping mecca was a warming house for fans who wanted no part of the arctic cold. No doubt this boosted business and profits at MOA…

•Price Gouging: Parking prices for some ramps on Super Sunday were as high as $85 – and that was still a few blocks from USBS. Hardly a bargain when you are walking in 2 degree temps…

•Georgia-Bound: Atlanta is now on the clock. Super Bowl LIII will be played in the ATL next season. Atlanta has hosted two previous Super Bowls…

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Eagles dog Patriots 41-33!

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By Larry Fitzgerald
February 6, 2018
GAMEDAY GOLD
@FitzBeatSr

(Photographs Courtesy: Steve Floyd/MSR News)

The city of Philadelphia is famous for many things: the Liberty Bell, Rocky, unruly fans, booing Santa Claus, Philadelphia Cream Cheese and Philly steak sandwiches. Move over — the Eagles are now the center of attention in the east after using power-muscle and Nick at Night to deny the Patriots a record-tying sixth Super Bowl victory.

The Eagles beat the Patriots 41-33 in Super Bowl LII, avenging a 24-21 Patriots victory in 2004’s Super Bowl XXXIX, in one of the most entertaining, exciting and competitive championship games ever.

Quarterback Nick Foles was selected the game’s MVP for out-dueling NFL MVP Tom Brady, throwing for 373 yards and three TDs and, yes, grabbing a touchdown pass. He is headed to Disney World!

Philadelphia Eagles QB Nick Foles sees his target

Nick Foles was on target in Super Bowl LII

The Patriots and Eagles put on a video-like performance in one of the highest scoring Super Bowls ever. With their 33 point performance, New England is now the highest scoring runner-up in Super Bowl history. Brady became the ninth straight NFL MVP since 1999, who has reached a Super Bowl in the same season and played for the losing side.

Philadelphia Head Coach Doug Pederson called an aggressive game plan from beginning to end. The Eagles’ versatile and effective running game kept the Patriots’ defense off balance. LaGarette Blount, the former Patriot, ran for 90 yards and a touchdown, and Jay Ajayi ran for 57 yards.

The Eagles challenged the Patriots deep with Alshon Jeffrey, who made three catches for 73 yards including a 34-yard touchdown. The Patriots benched veteran starting cornerback Malcolm Butler, and it backfired. The Eagles’ passing attack was on point with Foles all day.

The Eagles led 15-3 early in the second quarter, but Brady and the Patriots kept coming back. The Eagles led 22-12 at halftime, yet the Patriots had previously been 4-0 in playoffs games where they trailed by 10 points or more.

New England QB Tom Brady throws a pass

Tom Brady had a record setting day in a losing effort

The Eagles’ defense delivered the first blow of the game, knocking Patriots wide receiver Brandin Cooks out of the game with a vicious hit. Special teams combined for a total of one punt, while Philadelphia failed to convert on points after touchdown three times (twice on two-point conversion attempts), and the Patriots missed a field goal. Seventeen records were set in Super Bowl LII; the Eagles and Patriots also combined to tie 12 other records.

The Eagles stayed aggressive, going for it on fourth down and converting to sustain drives. Brady was brilliant, throwing for a Super Bowl-record 505 yards. He’s the first quarterback ever to lose while throwing for 500 yards, three TDs, and zero interceptions.

The Eagles, with just 3:03 left in the fourth quarter, lost the lead they enjoyed most of the game when Brady drove the Patriots to the go-ahead touchdown, 33-32, with a four-yard TD pass to Rob Gronkowski. New England’s All-Pro tight-end finished the game with nine catches for 116 yards and two touchdowns.

Foles showed the poise of a surgeon driving the Eagles to the go-ahead score on a 14-play drive, converting two fourth-down plays and hitting Zach Ertz for a touchdown, Eagles 38-Patriots 33.

On the next drive the Eagles finally got to Brady. Brandon Graham beat Patriots right guard Shaq Mason to his right, sacked Brady, and forced a critical fumble that was recovered by Derek Barnett. The Eagles added a field goal, expanding their lead to 41-33.

Brady’s deep ball to the end zone in the closing seconds fell incomplete, and the Eagles became Super Bowl Champions for the first time.  Philadelphia had won NFL Championships three times in the pre-Super Bowl era (1948, 1949 and 1960). After 58 years the Eagles are back on top.

New England Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski catches a TD pass in Super Bowl LII

Rob Gronkowski scored twice in Super Bowl LII

Philadelphia DE Brandon Graham sacks New England's QB Tom Brady

Philadelphia DE Brandon Graham’s sack was a game changer

 

Philadelphia Eagles LB Mychal Kendricks with the Lombardi Trophy after Super Bowl LII

Mychal Kendricks displays the newest piece of Philadelphia history

The Eagles join Dallas, New York and Washington as the only Division — the NFC East — where all four teams have won Super Bowls. Super Bowl LII was great theater for 67,612 fans at U.S. Bank Stadium. The two teams combined for the most yards in any game in NFL history, Eagles 538 and Patriots 613. NBC Sports grabbed record viewership numbers with 47.4/70 that peaked with a 52.2/74 in the fourth quarter.

What does this do for the legacy of Belichick and Brady in their record eighth Super Bowl? It’s big to win Super Bowls, and it’s also big to lose them. Brady and Belichick are now 5-3 in Super Bowls.

Minneapolis did a remarkable job hosting Super Bowl LII. It may have been the coldest Super Bowl Sunday outside, around three degrees, but inside U.S Bank Stadium history will say this was one of the best Super Bowls ever.

 

 

Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, on WDGY-AM 740 Monday-Friday at 12:17 pm and 4:17 pm, and at www.Gamedaygold.com. He also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2). Follow him on Twitter at FitzBeatSr. Larry welcomes reader responses to info@larry-fitzgerald.com, or visit www.Larry-Fitzgerald.com.

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Thomas U. Tuttle

One Chilly Minny With Winning Philly

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by Thomas U. Tuttle

 

They’ve about finished with the Super Bowl preliminaries, shut down most of the free buffets around town, and defrosted a few of Minnesota’s short-term SB guests who have been wandering around town, bundled up, trying to find the music shows and the parties.

While they cope with current temperatures, you can practically hear the West Coasters checking their flights as they prepare to leave our most-hospitable ice box. And they still have to brave the freezing elements to get to the game, and then stand in line (outdoors) while clearing what is sure to be a stiff security check.

The NFL has assured us an expedited yet thorough screening process, which it had better be…

Once the upset is complete – I mean, after the game is over – the Super fans still have to get back to their hotels, or rented mansions, etc… without contracting frostbite. It’s going to be well into the evening and colder than bejeezus, so even finding the limo is going to be tough.

All of this should make you feel better as you sit in front of the big screen, with the giant money you didn’t pay for a ticket still in your pocket and warm food at your disposal.

But of course, I digress Big-Time. The Super Game is upon us, and the moment has arrived to make the important calls. My friend Vito Pastrami has informed me that New England’s Patriots have been installed as 5 point favorites (up from 4 in the last 24 hours) as late professional money is wagered on New England.

The pro’s know that Tom Brady has been The Man, and it doesn’t take a long memory to recognize that fact. Just last year he came back from trailing 28-3 to defeat Atlanta in the fourth quarter, a comeback of such scale never accomplished in the 50-plus-year history of the game.

Yep, he’s amazing…and he’s Going Down this year! Philadelphia’s Eagles have had things lined up well this playoff run and will win Super Bowl LII outright, easily covering the spread and sending Tom Terrific into his 41st birthday with a few new doubts about the future.

Philadelphia, to put it simply, has been tough, durable and resilient in the face of daunting adversity via key injuries. To lose your league-best quarterback (Carson Wentz) at the end of the season and still cruise to playoff victories? Sweet indeed, and not without great skill and performance.

Quarterback Nick Foles is not the only recent starter to step up, just the most obvious. Don’t forget clutch running back Jai Ajayi, who was acquired at just the right time to fill the big shoes of injured star Darren Sproles. And the defense has had to replace star LB Jordan Hicks and rugged lineman Jason Peters, among other moves.

The football mantra at every level is “Next Man Up” which really only carries water when you have the horses to make that cliche work. Nick Foles has been the best QB in these playoffs and Ajayi is, in my mind, one of the keys to knocking out the Champs on Sunday. It is a tribute to Philadelphia’s veterans and coaching staff, as well as the players themselves, that things have worked out exceptionally well.

The Eagles do play better defense than they are given credit for, and their front line – led by the warrior Fletcher Cox – are going to pressure Brady all day and make him pay for everything he gets. Harassing Brady, as noted in a previous column, is the best thing a defense can do against the clutch superstar. In fact, it’s a key to victory

He’s going to show his advancing veteran status this SB as he goes for his 6th ring. If he doesn’t, then New England can pull it off once again. If his offensive line can protect him well, and I mean better than they have all year, Brady can win this game.

After all, the Patriots return over 30 men from last year’s winners. They have done this before, which means a lot. And they win close games, having only outscored their opponents in their seven SB’s 169-157.

And they won five. Pretty amazing.

But Philly has destiny on it’s side and will win it’s first NFL Championship since 1960 in Chilly Downtown Minny. They need this, they deserve this, and they will finally get a TITLE.

Eagles 35, Patriots 21

PS – take the over (48)

(For Recreation Only)

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GDG rundown from the heart of Super Bowl LII mania (Feb. 2nd-4th)

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@GamedayGold

 

OK.  If you thought last week’s show was heavy on Super Bowl coverage, you ain’t seen anything yet.  Eric Nelson and Larry Fitzgerald, Sr. covered every corner of the Twin Cities, grabbing interviews with many of the movers and shakers that are making Super Bowl Week a memorable one around the region.  They talk with the men that will take the field on Sunday (PHI’s Shelton Gibson & NE’s Cameron Fleming).  They get in front of the camera (NBC’s Tony Dungy & NFL Network’s Steve Wyche).  They chat with past legends (Orlando Pace, Ron Jaworski, and Alan Page).  They get a little star-shocked in the presence of music royalty (Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis).  It’s all here in a jam-packed edition of the program.

To the Field: We Speak with Those Who May Decide the Game’s Outcome

Segment 1: It’s all Super Bowl, all the time this week.  First, the teams had to descend on Minneapolis.  Eric looks at both sides to this week’s title game, as we hear from Philadelphia WR Shelton Gibson and New England OL Cameron Fleming.  What will it take for each team to lift the Lombardi Trophy on Sunday night?

 

On the Air: We Talk to Those That Will Bring the Action Into Your Home

Segment 2: For those unfortunate enough to be outside of U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday, the television broadcast teams will be the ones bringing us all of the action.  Former Gopher star Tony Dungy will get us up to game time.  The NBC studio analyst previews the matchup.  Speaking of native sons, NFL Network’s Steve Wyche is covering a Super Bowl in his hometown.  The man that grew up in North Minneapolis breaks down the matchups we’ll see on the field.

 

Entertainment Galore: Former Players and Music Makers Give Us Some Time

Segment 3: The Super Bowl is a game that can help jump start, validate, or define a career.  Orlando Pace didn’t need to a be Super Bowl champ to authenticate his noteworthy career, but it’s a nice bonus.  The Hall of Fame O-Lineman talks about this year’s game.  And the stars come out to play during this week-long event.  This year, Twin Cities natives Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis had a big hand in bringing the stars of music to the general public.  They tell us about the glamour and glitz of Super Bowl week.

 

Eagles Set to Fly: Ron Jaworski Explains the Underdog’s Role

Segment 4: The Eagles were the first team to arrive in the area.  They’re hungry to win the franchise’s first Super Bowl (their first NFL title since 1960).  Ron Jaworski has been close, leading the organization to Super Bowl XV.  The legendary Philly quarterback was greeted by our hosts at the airport.  He tells us what winning this game would mean to the city and its rabid fan base.

 

Minnesota-Known: Justice Alan Page Discusses the Game and His Current Endeavor

Segment 5: Alan Page is not your typical former MN Supreme Court Justice.  The Hall of Fame defensive end was a mainstay of the “Purple People Eater” defense that helped guide the Vikings to four Super Bowl appearances.  He discusses the big game making its return to Minneapolis.  Plus, hear more about a curative exhibit of historic proportions that he helped put together.

 

Setting the Stage: GDG’s Tom Tuttle Looks Ahead to Super Bowl Sunday

Segment 6: So, what does Tom Tuttle expect once Sunday night rolls around.  The GDG CFO joins Eric to preview Super Bowl LII.  Which team does he have coming out on top?  And what advantages do both teams possess on the field of play?

 

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Thomas U. Tuttle

Patriots Go For Six

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by Thomas U. Tuttle

 

Tom Brady is going to be 41 years old this August and will be playing in his 8th Super Bowl this Sunday. He’s won five of them, so he already has his “one for the thumb” SB ring and is now working on the other hand.

As has been mentioned many times before, with or without Gisele Bündchen, life is darn good for Tom Brady. And he’s won two of the last three Super Bowls in amazing fashion, including last year’s wild come-from-behind miracle.

I clearly remember his first World Championship, which was back in February of 2002 (SB XXXVI). In that one, Brady collected his first MVP award in a 20-17 victory over the St Louis Rams. Many folks will recall that football game was one of the first major sporting events after 9-11-2001, the day that changed America.

Security was intense at the New Orleans Superdome, as one might expect after our national terrorism nightmare. It was a different experience getting into the game in the Big Easy, a slow process which is now “par for the course” at all big venues and major sporting contests.

Other memories also come to mind – a future Vikings head coach rolling down Bourbon Street in, shall we say, exceedingly rare form. One of my favorite ballplayers of all time, wide-receiver Isaac Holt of the “greatest show on turf,” playing well for the losing squad while on the receiving end of QB Kurt Warner’s throws.

And for the first but far from the last time, Tom Brady moving his Patriots team into field goal range (with no timeouts left) to set up Adam Vinatieri’s 48-yard field goal game winner.

U2 was the halftime show, certainly one of the best ever, playing a powerful set that featured a passionate “Beautiful Day” with the names of the people who died in the attack appearing in the background. It was the most powerful moment of any halftime show in history.

The 2001 season was Brady’s first Pro Bowl year, which has been followed by 12 more selections, including every year from 2009 through 2017. He’s the best there ever was, as measured by the numbers, the championships, the longevity, the overall excellence – you name it. And I’m a Joe Montana guy.

So how do you beat him? The New York Giants did it twice, behind Eli Manning and a powerful defense. Michael Strahan always felt that it was up to the defense to press him constantly, get Brady out of his comfort zone, even roughing him up as much as possible (and marginally legal) after the throw.

It worked in those two games, and has to be considered a possible key to a Philadelphia victory. The Eagles showed that they can turn up the defensive heat when they beat the Vikings, and they’re going to need to bring a lot of rough stuff to downtown Minneapolis in SB LII. We know that they have a chip on their collective shoulders and are intent on bringing mayhem – like Fletcher Cox.

But the Patriots don’t fluster easily. How about this statistic: the Patriots have won 10 games in 15 consecutive seasons. Think about that! It’s simply amazing, and a testament to how hard it is to beat these guys given the crucial fact that they know how to win and find different ways to do so. It’s a workmanlike thing for them; they know how to win, never consider themselves out of a game, and have the great Gronk – Rob Gronkowski.

The New England defense is a little down this year, as the numbers indicate. They rank near the bottom in yards per play and overall yards allowed. The secondary has been shaky at times, notably in the season opening loss to Kansas City and the setback against Cam Newton and Carolina. They had no All Pro defenders this year and haven’t made a lot of big plays.

The Eagles are coming off back-to-back 7-9 campaigns, so this is very new for them. They rode the Carson Wentz experience for the best start in the league, and then the rising star went down in unlucky game number 13.

The fans (and Las Vegas) thought reality would surely set in with back-up Nick Foles at the helm, but the veteran has proven that he can play. He’s actually been superb, with playoff numbers among the best in history. One more excellent performance will be a requirement to knock off the defending champions.

Philadelphia needs a few explosive plays.  They must control the ball with the run and short pass, and play stout, smart, aggressive defense… with some QB harassment thrown in.

It can be done, just ask Eli Manning and Michael Strahan. But don’t ask the others because there aren’t any.

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Eric Nelson

SPORTS NUGGETS: Super snapshots from the Super Bowl

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By Eric Nelson
January 30, 2018
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MINNEAPOLIS – Sports Nuggets from the Bold North…

•Super Reflections: The Super Bowl is the biggest single day sporting spectacle on Earth. The week before the game is part Mardi Gras and part spring break. Going to this epic event is a privilege and a treat. I have been to 24 and have plenty of super snapshots from my travels. Here are some of them:

•Super Bowl XXXII, Denver 31, Green Bay 24: On a sun-splashed San Diego day, the Broncos and John Elway finally won their first Super Bowl. Elway’s spinning helicopter run deep in Packer territory was the game’s signature play. “This one’s for John,” Denver owner Pat Bowlen said after the Broncos pulled off the unlikely upset… But it was Terrell Davis who deserved the accolades. Davis – who grew up in San Diego – was a real headache for the Packers. Despite playing with a migraine, Davis ran for 157 yards, three touchdowns and was the game’s MVP. For TD It was the ultimate homecoming… On Super Saturday, I was at the Hall of Fame news conference at the San Diego Hyatt. When it was announced that former Minnesota Vikings safety Paul Krause got into the HOF, I raced to a pay phone to call him and get an interview. When Krause answered, I said, “congratulations.”

Autographed photo of Paul Krause in action

Paul Krause – Minnesota Vikings and Pro Football Hall of Fame

His response was, “am I in?” In the pre-cell phone, pre-internet days of 1998, Krause did not know he had been voted into the HOF… I then ran a mile to the Holiday Inn, got my rental car and drove to Krause’s hotel. Suddenly, I was driving Krause and his family in a compact rental car west on I-8 to CNN’s broadcast site to record an interview for WCCO-TV. That would never happen today, because HOF announcements are choreographed, made for TV productions that air on national television in prime time…

•Super Bowl XXXIII, Denver 34, Atlanta 19: The game wasn’t a classic, but fun is a given when it’s Super Bowl week in South Florida. Swimming at Key Biscayne, checking out South Beach, jet skiing in the Atlantic Ocean and seeing a moon over Miami while crossing the MacArthur Causeway are some amazing takeaways. Miami’s Latin vibe makes the city a perfect super spot…

•Super Bowl XXXIX, New England 24, Philadelphia 21: Jacksonville was in the super spotlight for this game and the city displayed incredible southern charm and hospitality. After arriving at Jacksonville International Airport, I was greeted by volunteers who told me how happy they were that I showed up… A few days later, my brother Gary and I received the royal treatment on our way to the trendy commissioner’s party. We were the only two on a media bus that made the 29 mile trek from Jacksonville to Jacksonville Beach. We even got into the bash – thanks to a couple of party-goers who left early and gave us their tickets…On game day I sat in the upper level of Alltel Stadium and had a panoramic view of the Jacksonville skyline and the scenic St. John’s River. Fortunately, I was up too high to see Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb vomit…

•Super Bowl XLI, Indianapolis 29, Chicago 17: This soggy super showdown was played in a Miami monsoon as pouring rain drenched everyone in Hard Rock Stadium… Peyton Manning won his first title and the match up between these Midwest teams was the first Super Bowl with two African-American Head Coaches – the Colts Tony Dungy and the Bears Lovie Smith … The halftime show was epic as Prince played Purple Rain in the rain…

Prince performs at Super Bowl XLI

Legendary Performance — photo courtesy: Chicago Tribune

•Super Bowl XLII, NY Giants 17, New England 14: The Patriots bid to join the Dolphins in perfectville was ruined by the Giants. New England was oh-so-close to finishing 19-0, but late in the 4th quarter the Patriots perfect dream vanished in Glendale, AZ… Did David Tyree really pin a ball to his helmet while making one of the greatest circus catches in NFL history? 18-1 wasn’t good enough for New England… It was a Giant upset and I vividly remember interviewing New York players on the confetti-covered field turf in a setting that was pure pandemonium…

•Super Bowl XLV, Green Bay 31, Pittsburgh 25: The North Texas Super Bowl turned into the North Pole Super Bowl. Ice and snow in Dallas-Ft. Worth crippled the Metroplex and ruined the super buzz… Travel was almost impossible and because of a rolling blackout, I got stuck in a light rail train seven stories below the streets of Dallas on my way to a mid-week Packers news conference (which I missed). The frigid weather even forced Green Bay to move an outdoor practice at SMU to an indoor field house at Highland Park HS in Dallas. When asked about the prep venue, HC Mike McCarthy joked that it was better than the Packers practice facility in Wisconsin… On Super Sunday at AT&T Stadium, 400 fans were relocated to other areas because a temporary seating section was deemed unsafe. They received a triple refund from the NFL…

Eric Nelson interviews a Packer player after Super Bowl XLV

A trophy season for Green Bay

•Super Bowl VLVII, Baltimore 34, San Francisco 31: The brother bowl was the storyline all week in New Orleans as Ravens HC John Harbaugh went against 49ers HC Jim Harbaugh…The siblings were the main focus until the Superdome went dark in the third quarter because of a power failure. For a couple minutes no one knew what happened. Was this an act of terrorism? Did the folks running the Superdome fail to pay their light bill? Did Beyonce’s electric half-time show blow up the dome’s power grid..? When the lights came back on, Baltimore shined the most, as Colin Kaepernick and San Francisco failed to score from the Ravens 5-yard line in the final minutes of the game…

•Super Bowl XLIX, New England 28, Seattle 24: So much for the Arizona heat. It was cool in Phoenix most of the week and there was even fog, which made for a surreal sight in the desert… But that was not nearly as odd as the Seahawks ignoring Beast Mode with 26 seconds left in the 4th quarter and denying him an opportunity to run for a game-winning touchdown. Did Russell Wilson really throw an interception to Malcom Butler at the goal line? So much for Seattle winning back-to-back Super Bowls…

•Super Bowl 50, Denver 24, Carolina 10: The golden game in the Golden State was a blast. Thanks to postcard-like California weather, San Francisco, San Jose and Santa Clara were perfect host cities. The highlight of the trip was renting a bike and exploring San Francisco. Pedaling across the Golden Gate Bridge was a pure rush, going through Haight Ashbury was totally cool, and seeing Kezar Stadium – the 49ers original home – was an unexpected bonus… On the way to the game, our media bus broke down on US 101. We waited approximately 45 minutes before being escorted to a new bus by a friendly CHIPS officer… We arrived at Levi’s Stadium just in time to see Broncos star Von Miller put on a super show with his defensive dominance…

•Super Bowl LI, New England 34, Atlanta 28 (OT): Colossal comeback or colossal collapse? Depends on your perspective. The Patriots trailed 28-3 in the third quarter, but charged back to stun the Falcons… Takeaways from Houston include seeing the archaic Astrodome (which is next to NRG Stadium), views of Minute Maid Park out my hotel window, and broadcasting a flag football charity game for ESPN3 that featured Doug Flutie, Kirk Cousins and Dallas Keuchel… The event was played at a high school stadium in Katy, TX, a Houston suburb. The facility was incredible – but not as impressive as the new $70 million prep venue that was being built a few hundred yards away and opened up in the fall of 2017…

Eric Nelson interviews Kurt Warner

Kurt Warner – Eric interviews another Super Bowl hero and member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame

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Podcast

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Gameday Gold Radio – February 8, 2018 – s.3

The Eagles Fly to their First Lombardi Trophy
Segment 3: Going back to the game last Sunday, we hear from a couple of guys that took in everything a Minneapolis Super Bowl had to offer…Kansas City’s newest starting QB, Pat Mahomes, and Twin Cites native Larry Fitzgerald, Jr.  After that, it’s time to give some love to the Eagles.  How did the team bring Philadelphia its first NFL title since 1960?
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Gameday Gold Radio – February 1, 2018 – s.2

On the Air: We Talk to Those That Will Bring the Action Into Your Home

Segment 2: For those unfortunate enough to be outside of U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday, the television broadcast teams will be the ones bringing us all of the action.  Former Gopher star Tony Dungy will get us up to game time.  The NBC studio analyst previews the matchup.  Speaking of native sons, NFL Network’s Steve Wyche is covering a Super Bowl in his hometown.  The man that grew up in North Minneapolis breaks down the matchups we’ll see on the field.

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Gameday Gold Radio – January 26, 2018 – s.1

There’s no way, even if you live under a rocky mountain, that you couldn’t know about the Super Bowl making a stop in Minnesota.  Our team will be all over the festivities being held in the Twin Cities metro area.  Eric is at the Downtown Minneapolis studio.  Larry may still be in Phoenix, for the moment, but will be heading back in time for all the happenings.  There has to be some reflection on the Vikings’ less-than-stellar performance in the NFC Championship Game.  Other than that, the show looks ahead to the next week-plus of festivities.  Off the field, what will this event mean for the area?  Marketing and public relations expert Bill Robertson joins the program to discuss the impact.
The Big Week is Finally Here…Almost
Segment 1: After years of anticipation, the Twin Cities gets another shot at the biggest showcase in sports.  This gives our guys a special chance to reminisce on the more than 60 combined appearances at the NFL’s championship extravaganza.  Unfortunately, the Vikings are not around to be gracious hosts.  What happened to the Purple in Philadelphia?
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Gameday Gold Radio – January 26, 2018 – s.2

Vikings Continue NFC Championship Woes
Segment 2: The fellas take a moment to send good thoughts to a Vikings legend suffering from a terrible ailment.  After that, it’s back to the field.  What will the Vikes do about getting their quarterback of the future?  And can the organization ever break their “dome curse” in conference championship games?
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Gameday Gold Radio – January 26, 2018 – s.5

Bill Robertson Stretches the Super Bowl Effect Forward
Segment 5: Twenty-six years is a long time between visits, but the NFL’s biggest event has finally returned to the Land of 10,000 Big Ice Rinks.  How have the Twin Cities changed since the last time that the Super Bowl was in town?  Bill Robertson sticks around to explain the difference from 1992 to now.  Plus, what can this do for the area’s reputation moving forward.
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Gameday Gold Radio – January 5, 2018 – s.6

What Could Heighten the Minneapolis Super Bowl Experience?

Segment 6: This week’s hosts look at the Super Bowl from an off-field angle.  Would the Vikings create the best economic boom for the area if they played the game in their own stadium?  And is there a built-in disadvantage for the Twin Cities when it comes to visitors braving the February cold?