NFL Notebook: Archie Manning earns Bagnell award

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NFL Notebook: Archie Manning earns Bagnell award

This week, the Maxwell Football Club announced the selection of Archie Manning as the winner of the Reds Bagnell Award presented annually for contributions to the game of football.

It is a great choice because it is hard to think of anyone who has represented the game better than Manning, the patriarch of pro footballs first family. He is best known as the father of Peyton and Eli, both Super Bowl champions, but Archie was a great player as well.

As good as Peyton and Eli were as college quarterbacks, Archie was better. Archie was the second-best college quarterback I ever saw. The only one Id put ahead of him was Roger Staubach at Navy. Archie was a folk hero at the University of Mississippi and, in the football-mad South, he remains one today.

Archie had a stronger arm than either of his sons and was a better runner. As a junior, he led Ole Miss to an 8-3 record and an upset of Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl. He was so popular, a Mississippi food chain began selling Archie Burgers and a country song (The Ballad of Archie Who?) was written in his honor. His No. 18 jersey is the only one retired at Ole Miss.

The greatest tribute was the one offered by Alabama coach Bear Bryant who said: There may never have been the equal in college football to Archie Manning.

The Bear saw first-hand what Manning could do. In a 1969 game against Alabama, Manning passed for 436 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 104 yards and three touchdowns. The Crimson Tide escaped with a 33-32 victory, but Mannings heroic performance was all anyone remembers.

Manning could hurt you in more ways than any other quarterback Ive ever seen, said Bryant who coached George Blanda, Joe Namath and Ken Stabler, to Pro Magazine. He could roll out, sprint out, drop back and throw while scrambling. He had a strong arm, a quick release and he could run like the wind.

But his most important assets were his leadership and his ability to win the close games by the force of his personality and talents. For the total package, I dont think anyone offered what Archie did.

Archie never enjoyed the success his sons did at the NFL level. He was the second pick in the 1970 draft by the New Orleans Saints. He thought it was good fortune to be drafted by a team so close to home (Drew, Miss.) but it proved to be more like a prison sentence.
The Saints were a sorry excuse for a franchise, horribly mismanaged top to bottom, and there was no way out. This was before free agency so Manning was trapped there for 11 seasons, playing for seven head coaches and never once finishing above .500.

Manning won the undying admiration of the fans for the grit he displayed, taking a fierce beating every week but never giving up. In 1978, he was named NFC Player of the Year and led the conference in passing even though the Saints finished just 7-9. He almost certainly would have had a great career maybe a Hall of Fame career if he was drafted by a better team, but he wasnt that fortunate.

Archie never made it to the playoffs, but he reveled in watching his sons lead the Indianapolis Colts and New York Giants to Super Bowl victories in back-to-back seasons and earn MVP honors in the two championship games.

It is a story unlike any other: A father is the second overall pick in the NFL draft and jokingly refers to himself as an underachiever because his sons were each the No. 1 pick. Soon, three franchises New Orleans, Indianapolis and the Giants will have a Manning as their all-time passing leader. Archie and Peyton are there already and Eli is on his way.

All three Mannings have been honored by the Maxwell Club. Peyton, who played at the University of Tennessee, won the Maxwell Award as College Player of the Year and twice won the Bert Bell Award as Pro Player of the Year. Eli, who followed in Archies footsteps at Ole Miss, won the Maxwell Award. Now Archie wins the Bagnell Award.

The Bagnell Award recognizes more than football achievement. It honors those whose character and integrity bring credit to the game. Archie qualifies on all counts. His charity work is legend in the New Orleans area and he added yet another chapter when he helped lead the relief effort following Hurricane Katrina in 2009.

Manning will receive his award at the Maxwell Clubs 75th anniversary dinner at Harrahs Atlantic City Resort March 2, 2012. Tickets will be available for purchase on the Maxwell Football Club website www.maxwellfootballclub.org beginning in October.

Canton, at last
It was a wonderful weekend in Canton, Ohio, celebrating the enshrinement of the 2011 Class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. For me, the highlight was seeing NFL Films founder Ed Sabol take his rightful place among the greats who built the game.

Ill admit to a certain bias since I worked for NFL Films for 13 years, but this was an honor long overdue. My only regret is I did not get Big Ed into the Hall in my 15 years on the selection committee. Congratulations to Paul Domowitch of the Daily News who succeeded me as the Philadelphia voter and finally got it done, but it should not have taken this long.

When you think about those who have left an indelible mark on the game, Sabol is at the front of the line. He created NFL Films and his vision popularized pro football for generations of fans. All the images you associate with the game the Lynn Swann leaps, the Barry Sanders runs, the Joe Montana spirals represent the artistry of the Sabols, Ed and his son Steve, the company president.

Now 94, Big Ed took the stage in a wheelchair pushed by Steve. Before he lifted the cover off his fathers Hall of Fame bust, Steve kissed Ed gently on the head. It was a beautiful moment that spoke volumes about their relationship and what this honor meant to their family and the company that has defined them for half a century.

More than 150 NFL Films employees, past and present, made the trip to Canton. Many of the men and even some women wore red socks as a tribute to Big Ed. Red socks are his trademark.

Steve served as presenter for his father. As Jimmy Murray, the former Eagles general manager, said: Next year it should be Big Ed presenting Steve (for induction). That would be fitting, indeed.

Going long
The Hall of Fame instructs the honorees to keep their acceptance speeches to 10 minutes. I guess not everyone got the memo this year because some people went on and on.

Marshall Faulk talked for almost 35 minutes. Shannon Sharpe went for 26. Deion Sanders spoke for 24 and a half minutes. Richard Dent went 17 minutes. Chris Hanburger was almost terse at nine minutes, three seconds.

Ed Sabol, bless him, spoke for two minutes and 57 seconds.

Sharpes speech was long, but very good. He got off the most memorable line when he pointed to his brother, former Green Bay receiver Sterling Sharpe, and said: Im the only pro football player thats in the Hall of Fame and the second-best player in my own family.

E-mail Ray Didinger at viewfromthehall@comcast.net

Late goal lifts Penguins over Sharks in Game 1 of Stanley Cup Final

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Late goal lifts Penguins over Sharks in Game 1 of Stanley Cup Final

PITTSBURGH -- To their credit, the Sharks regrouped after a miserable first period at Consol Energy Center in which it looked like they might get run out of the building.

It wasn’t enough, though, as Nick Bonino’s late third period goal pushed the Penguins to a 3-2 win in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.

On the game-winner, Brent Burns lost his stick and couldn’t prevent Kris Letang from finding Bonino in front of the net with Paul Martin defending the slot. Bonino flipped it through Martin Jones at 17:27 of the final frame.

The Sharks went to the power play with 2:09 to go, but couldn’t tie it up.

Game 2 is in Pittsburgh on Wednesday.

The Penguins dominated the first period, only to have the Sharks completely turn the tables in the second, resulting in a 2-2 tie after 40 minutes.

The Penguins had the Sharks on their heels for virtually the entire opening frame, outshooting San Jose 15-4 and scoring a pair.

The first came at 12:46 of the first. On a rush, Justin Schultz’s shot from the high slot hit the glove of Marc-Edouard Vlasic, and rookie Bryan Rust was there to smack in the loose puck.

Just one minute and two seconds later, the Penguins upped their cushion. Sidney Crosby tracked down a loose puck in the corner ahead of Justin Braun, calmly played the puck off his backhand and whipped a cross-ice pass to Conor Sheary. Another rookie, Sheary whizzed a wrist shot past Jones’ far shoulder.

It was evident early in the second, though, that San Jose had regrouped, as Patrick Marleau and Joe Pavelski both had good looks at the net. They broke through on an early power play courtesy of Tomas Hertl, who curled in a pass from down low off of Olli Maatta at 3:02.

Pittsburgh withstood a continual push from the Sharks for much of the period until Marleau’s late score. After Couture outworked Maatta deep in the offensive zone and pushed the puck to the point to Burns, Marleau secured Burns’ rebound and wrapped it around at 18:12.

Burns had two assists, and made a strong defensive play with about three minutes left in the first, backchecking hard and lifting up Carl Hagelin’s stick on a breakaway.

Special teams

The Sharks were 1-for-2 on the power play, on Hertl’s second man advantage goal of the playoffs. They are 18-for-65 in the postseason (27.6 percent).

Pittsburgh went 0-for-3, generating five shots on goal. The Pens are 15-for-67 overall (22.3 percent).

Marleau was whistled for an illegal check to the head of Rust in the third period, sending the 24-year-old to the dressing room for a brief stretch.

In goal

Jones and Murray were each making their first career starts in the Stanley Cup Final. Jones took the loss with 38 saves, while Murray stopped 24 San Jose shots.

Lineup

Sharks forward Matt Nieto remained out with an upper body injury.

Pavelski saw his seven-game point streak (5g, 5a) come to an end. Pittsburgh’s Chris Kunitz increased his point streak to six games (3g, 4a).

Up next

The Sharks are 5-11 all-time when losing Game 1 of a playoff series, but 1-0 this year as they came back to defeat the Blues in the Western Conference Final.

Teams that win Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final have gone on to win the championship 78 percent of the time (59-18). The last team to win the Cup after losing Game 1 was the 2011 Bruins.

NL East Wrap: Matt Harvey gets back on track in Mets' win over White Sox

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NL East Wrap: Matt Harvey gets back on track in Mets' win over White Sox

NEW YORK -- On the mound in the seventh inning for the first time this season, Matt Harvey gave up his first walk of the game and his second hit, leading to a sacrifice bunt and a second-and-third jam.

"You kind of think about the worst at that point," he said. "You start getting some negative thoughts that creep in your head."

But 11 days after disappointed fans at Citi Field booed him like a villain, the Dark Knight was back - at least for one afternoon.

Harvey retired Todd Frazier on a foulout and J.B. Shuck on a grounder to escape trouble, Neil Walker homered off Jose Quintana on the second pitch of the bottom half and the New York Mets beat Chicago 1-0 Monday to send the reeling White Sox to their seventh straight loss.

"Today's a big first step," Mets manager Terry Collins said.

Addison Reed and Jeurys Familia got six straight outs to complete the two-hitter, preserving Harvey's first win since May 8. Harvey struck out six, walked two and threw four pitches of 98-98.5 mph after not topping 97.5 mph previously this season. He threw 61 of 87 pitches for strikes (see full recap).

Mallex Smith's 3-run triple powers Braves past Giants
ATLANTA -- Mike Foltynewicz is showing he can be more than just a fastball pitcher - and that he can be part of the Braves' long-term rotation.

Foltynewicz continued his recent upswing by allowing only three hits and one run in six-plus innings, Mallex Smith hit a three-run triple and Atlanta beat Jeff Samardzija and the San Francisco Giants 5-3 on Monday.

The Braves survived San Francisco's two-run, ninth-inning rally. They have won three of four and are 5-21 at home, still easily the worst in the majors.

Foltynewicz (2-2) gave up a leadoff homer to Brandon Belt in the second inning, but allowed only one other runner to advance to second.

Foltynewicz, 24, has had other recent strong starts, including eight scoreless innings in a 5-0 win at Kansas City on May 14. His start on Monday may have been his most impressive demonstration of altering the speeds of his fastball while mixing in a curveball and slider (see full recap).

Locke tosses three-hit shutout against Marlins
MIAMI -- Jeff Locke tossed a three-hitter and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Miami Marlins 10-0 on Monday night.

Gregory Polanco's grand slam, Sean Rodriguez's two-run homer, and David Freese's four hits helped power the offense for the Pirates, who won the first of a four-game series in Miami. The first two games were originally scheduled to be played in Puerto Rico, but were moved due to concerns of the Zika virus.

Locke (4-3) struck out one and did not walk a batter while throwing 67 of 105 pitches for strikes. It was his first complete game in 101 career starts. Locke retired 19 straight at one point and needed just six pitches to get through the seventh inning.

The announced crowd of 10,856 was a season-low for the Marlins, who entered the day averaging just under 20,000 (see full recap).

Pete Mackanin on deciding Ryan Howard's playing time: 'I think about it all the time'

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Pete Mackanin on deciding Ryan Howard's playing time: 'I think about it all the time'

A day after he made comments in Chicago that alluded to the trimming of Ryan Howard’s playing time against right-handed pitchers, Phillies manager Pete Mackanin sat at his desk, surrounded by reporters, and was pressed for 10 minutes on the issue of his declining, expensive and struggling first baseman and franchise icon.

Howard, of course, was penciled into the lineup in the cleanup spot against righty Tanner Roark for Monday’s 4-3 loss to the visiting Washington Nationals (see game recap).

A question of was barely out of a reporter’s mouth when Mackanin quickly interjected a “hell yes.”

It’s the hardest decision - what to do with the struggling Howard - he’s had to make in his brief time managing the Philadelphia Phillies.

“I think about it all the time,” Mackanin said.

“That’s the hard part of this job. It’s not just running the game, it’s handling the players.”

For now, Mackanin said, he hasn’t felt the need to talk to Howard about it. Howard, who sat Sunday for the second time in eight days against a righty, said Sunday he was unaware his manager was intending on reducing his playing time against righties (see story).

Once a platoon situation at first base, it appears the Phillies are going to take a longer look at rookie Tommy Joseph against right-handed pitchers in the near future.

“If I was going to sit (Howard) on the bench and he wasn’t going to play anymore, I’d have that conversation,” Mackanin said. “I think what I said was pretty obvious.”

“I didn’t say I was going to bench Howard.”

He didn’t Monday. Howard had good numbers against Roark, something he didn’t have against Sunday’s starter for the Cubs, John Lackey. So it looks like Mackanin’s decision will be based on matchups.

In his second at-bat Monday, a second straight strikeout on the night and 12th in his last 22 at-bats, Howard was way late on a 93-mph fastball on the outer half of the plate.

But he looked much better in his final two at-bats of the night.

In the bottom of the sixth, he drove a Roark changeup to the warning track deep in right-center, but Ben Revere closed quickly and made the catch.

In his last at-bat, after Maikel Franco led off the ninth inning with a double, Howard jumped on a first-pitch fastball from Jonathan Papelbon and drove a double to the gap in left-centerfield, scoring Franco and putting the tying run in scoring position with no outs.

Those two swings were the ones Mackanin said Monday afternoon he “knew” were there. He later corrected himself and said it was more of a situation of “hope.”

Howard went 1 for 4 on the night. His May average is now .106.

“He needed to come through with a big hit and that was a huge hit, put the tying run at second base,” Mackanin said. “It was good to see.”

The Phillies are slated to face a righty in their next six games before facing Jon Lester and the Cubs at home next Monday. Joseph, who is hitting .278 with three home runs in his first 36 Major League at-bats, figures to get the start in the majority of those.

It’s a decision Mackanin says he’s going to make on a day-by-day basis.

He was asked if the front office, which is also in a tough spot and may have to do something soon, gave him any input on what to do.

“They don’t tell me who to play and when to play them,” Mackanin said. “I know that they want me to mix in Joseph against right-handers so that he doesn’t stagnate. That’s pretty much all I go by right now.”

A suggestion from upstairs isn’t unprecedented. It has already happened before during the young 2016 season.

“They asked me to - as bad as (Tyler) Goeddel looked early in the season - they asked me if I could try to mix him in a little more,” Mackanin said. “I said sure. I did, and he started hitting better. So now he’s playing more. Here we go, if you want to play more than you gotta hit.

“There’s nothing set in stone.”