The Evster reviews NFL Network's 'The Football Life: Randall Cunningham'

The Evster reviews NFL Network's 'The Football Life: Randall Cunningham'

Growing up, no one, and I mean NO ONE, made me lose my shit more than Randall Cunningham. Not Shawn Kemp. Not Frank Drebin. Not even the lovely ladies of Hustler magazine and their knee-high tube socks. Randall Cunningham was The Ultimate Weapon Bonkers Machine. So when I heard that the NFL Network was going to feature Randall in their "A Football Life" series, I started screaming like a lunatic and ran into a lamp.

Before the show aired, I was most excited to see some of Randall's old highlights, as well as hear crazy stories from his teammates, coaches and THE FORMER GOVERNOR OF PENNSYLVANIA, but NFL Films kicked it up a notch. Through never-before-seen footage and interviews with ARKANSAS FRED (who currently has a very distinguished salt & pepper goatee), they revealed secret stuff about Randall that blew my mind in ways that no Hustler centerfold ever could. Obviously that last statement is a lie, but still, it was a really good documentary. Here were some of the highlights:

Randall Plays the Bongos 

Every Sunday at church -- a church that Randall founded and is also the head pastor of -- Randall Cunningham, former all-pro quarterback, plays the bongos. He actually sits on the alter, behind some sort of bulletproof glass, and plays the bongos. AND HE'S DEAD SERIOUS ABOUT IT. Just playin' the bongos, in front of his entire congregation, just bongo'ing away. The Ultimate Bongo.

Imagine having to explain to your friends that on every Sunday afternoon, you played the bongos.

"Hey Charlie, my wife was wondering if you and Rachel wanted to come over for brunch this Sunday? Haven't seen you guys in a while, would be nice to catch up. I think Marcie is gonna make French Toast or something."

"Uhhhhh, don't think I can make it, Steve. Playing the bongos."

"Aw really? That's too ba-- wait, what?"

"Playing the bongos, dude."

"What?"

"The bongos. I play the bongos."

"What does that even mean?"

"Every Sunday at church. I play the bongos."

"Yeah, I'm hearing the words that you're saying, but ..."

"Gotta go, dude. Bongos."

"What the hell just happened?"

That Jheri Curl

We all remember Randall's flattop, but I had totally forgotten about his Jheri Curl. I mean, look at that thing. It's beautiful. And so slippery. No wonder Dexter Manley could never tackle him. Randall's uniform was probably slathered in grease.

Now that 80s fashion has made a comeback -- with teenagers tight-rolling their jeans and snorting tons of cocaine -- do you think the Jheri Curl will return as well? Nerlens has brought back the flattop, and Michael Irvin has never stopped shaving lines in his head, but the only people still rocking a Jheri Curl are Pedro Martinez and my Aunt Roberta. And yo, my Aunt Roberta ROCKS that Jheri Curl. Michael Cage has to have a son somewhere, right? Eazy E? AC Green? (No.)

The Ultimate Handshake 

After that famous Monday Night game against the Giants in 1988 (the game where Randall bounced off of Carl Banks and threw that laser touchdown to Jimmie Giles (shout out Jimmie Giles!), they showed a clip of Randall and LT meeting at midfield for a postgame handshake. It was nothing too out of the ordinary, but it was amazing to see big, bad LT just walk right up to Randall, look him in the eyes and shake his hand like a goddamn warrior (and then ask him where he could score some sweet, Colombian blow). Randall had arrived. And LT gave him the ultimate sign of respect -- a feeling that I have never, ever experienced.

There were more clips and soundbites of NFC opponents marveling at Randall's abilities, too. Charles Mann tried to explain to teammates that he could easily beat the Eagles offensive linemen, but just couldn't get ahold of #12. Bill Belichick (then the Giants Defensive Coordinator) drew up schemes specifically designed to contain The Ultimate Bongo. 97-year-old Tom Landry gushed over Randall while collecting spittle all over his lips. Fascinating stuff.

Rich Kotite's Stupid Visor/Cigar Combo

Ugh, look at that guy's dumb face. Have you ever seen a dumber face? Singlehandedly ruined the most exciting team this city has ever seen. And what is up with that visor? THIS PICTURE WAS TAKEN AT TRAINING CAMP.

And I've never understood why people smoke cigars. They smell horrible. You don't inhale them. And along with docksiders, cufflinks and those blue collared business shirts with the white collars, they are pretty much The Ultimate Douche Magnet.

This is probably a good time to check out the Evster's rankings of the Worst All-Time People in Philadelphia Sports History.

5. Howard Eskin - At this point, the only way, and I mean the ONLY way that Eskin could ingratiate himself to Philly fans would be to put a diamond in his beard like that guy from Robbins 8th and Walnut.

4. Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorf - I was at the Spectrum in 1987 when Hulk Hogan took on Kamala, and Orndorf (pretending to be Kamala's manager, AND ALSO HOGAN'S FRIEND) backstabbed the Hulkster and piledrove his head into the mat. It's not that I was necessarily angry at Orndorf for betraying the Hulkster, Hogan was clearly a dork, it was the fact that he ruined Kamala's chances of becoming the champ! Kamala was amazing! That painted crescent moon on his belly? So cute! RIP Kamala. The Ultimate Ugandan Headhunter. (I have no idea if he's dead.)

3. Chris Wheeler - Tell us more about why the Astros are playing at double play depth, Wheels. Please tell us more.

2. Rich Kotite - WHY COULDN'T YOU JUST LET RANDALL BE RANDALL

1. Shawn Bradley - A few months ago, I pitched a story to Enrico where I was just going to post "Ten Pictures of Shawn Bradley Sucking" and Enrico shot it down because he said it was too mean.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE THIS IDEA TO BE REVISITED, PLEASE EMAIL ENRICO AT TotalButtheadEditor@the700level.com.

Randall dated Whitney Houston?!

I don't know how I missed this one, but apparently back in the day, Randall and Whitney Houston spent a weekend together in the Caribbean. In the documentary, Randall claims they were just friends, but Randall is a LIAR. Back in 2012, former teammate Garry Cobb gossiped like a little teenager to Spike Eskin all about Randall and Whit's relationship. Now while it is unclear as to who is telling the truth and who is LYING, it is very clear that no one calls Whitney Houston, "Whit". Sorry, Whit. I have no idea why I called you Whit. RIP. (She's definitely dead.)

Randall's Yellow Turtleneck Sweater 

The picture above was taken on the set of the Randall Cunningham Show, a weekly talk show that was co-hosted by LOU TILLEY, RIP (he's not dead) and aired on gameday right before The Buddy Ryan Show. And while Randall's sweater is obviously incredible, can we talk about that suit of armor in the background?!?!

How did that get there? Was there some sort of production meeting where someone thought that was a good idea?

BIG TIME STUDIO EXEC: Hey folks, we need to figure out how to decorate Randall's set. Any ideas?

ANNOYING PRODUCER: Hmm, maybe some plants? Or we could hang up some sports posters in the back?

BIG TIME STUDIO EXEC: DON'T WASTE MY TIME.

PRODUCTION ASSISTANT: What about a cool cityscape?

BIG TIME STUDIO EXEC: WHAT ABOUT YOU LOOK FOR A NEW JOB?

INTERN: Um, I have a suit of armor at home. I could maybe bring that in?

BIG TIME STUDIO EXEC: WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?

INTERN: A suit of armor. Like, an actual suit of armor from the 1300's. I stole it from the Art Museum one night after getting absolutely blasted on cocaine. I feel like it would look really dope on the left hand side of the set.

BIG TIME STUDIO EXEC:  SOLD!

CUTE MAKEUP GIRL: [Smiles and winks at Intern.]

INTERN: [Blushes, and smiles back.]

CUTE MAKEUP GIRL: [Makes blowjob gesture.]

INTERN: [Howls like a wolf.]

Take that Jake the Snizzake!

Randy Moss Was So, So, So Good

Remember when he destroyed the Cowboys on Thanksgiving day?! STRAIGHT CASH HOMEY!

Highlights of Randall Cunningham Jr.

Yo, they didn't show nearly enough of little Randall, but that dude runs and throws EXACTLY like his father. He has the same looping arm motion and long strides and is also the nation's #1 high-jumper and I'm taking him in my fantasy keeper league next year and also DID YOU KNOW THAT THERE IS A SHAWN KEMP JR?!

(For the record, the above video is HILARIOUS. It was made by some little kid and he does a little intro explaining what you're about to see and it's honestly really adorable/so lame because the dunk is FAR from "amazing".)

Jenn Brown (WOWZERS) Co-hosted the Follow-up Show with Ray Diddles

I see you, Ray Diddles!

I see you!

Also, two N's in Jenn, Jenn? Get over yourself.

Follow The Evster @TVMWW.

Playing with 'swagger,' Gostisbehere flashes glimpse of rookie self vs. Canucks

Playing with 'swagger,' Gostisbehere flashes glimpse of rookie self vs. Canucks

VANCOUVER, British Columbia – The Flyers’ “Ghost” headed home Monday on a high note — for a change.

Defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere recorded three assists for the first three-point night of his NHL career Sunday as the Flyers edged the Vancouver Canucks 3-2 in the final game of a three-game Western Canada road trip (see story). In one night, he matched his offensive output of his previous 10 games played. 

He was a healthy scratch for three games in the meantime. On many other occasions, he has struggled while dealing with the NHL’s proverbial sophomore jinx following a standout rookie season. 

“It’s been a while coming,” Gostisbehere said. “It’s good to get some points, but I thought it was more important to get two points for our team.”

The win moved the Flyers (28-24-7) within a point of the eighth and final playoff spot, currently held by Toronto, in the Eastern Conference. With considerable thanks to Gostisbehere, the club’s much maligned power play scored on two of three man-advantage opportunities. 

“He played great,” Wayne Simmonds said of Gostisbehere. “He had his confidence and a little bit of swagger.”

Gostisbehere’s first assist enabled the Flyers to get off to a quick start offensively as Simmonds deflected in his point shot only 1:11 into the game. On the Flyers’ second goal, Gostisbehere head-manned the puck to Sean Couturier on a rush. Jakub Voracek easily put Couturier’s big rebound into a gaping net with Canucks goaltender Ryan Miller caught out of position.

One minute and 27 seconds later, Brayden Schenn took Gostisbehere’s pass and put in a shot from the slot. Altogether, Gostisbehere’s assists enabled the Flyers to build an insurmountable 3-0 lead in the game’s first 23 minutes.

“Ghost has had his ups and downs this year, but he's a heck of a player and has unbeliveable skill,” Simmonds said. “He can be a catalyst offensively for us, that’s for sure.”

Gostisbehere now has four goals and 18 assists on the season. Until Sunday, the 23-year-old had seemed like an apparition of his former self. 

He had a less-than-ideal recovery period from offseason hip (labrum) and abdominal surgeries, due to his participation with Team North America in the World Cup. Then he suffered a facial cut in the Flyers’ season opener and took a bruise on his right hand in December.

He also struggled defensively to the point where he was scratched — for the first time in his NHL career — in November and was later benched and pulled out of the lineup again. Heading into Sunday’s game, he had a woeful minus-22 mark, but he was only on the ice for one Canucks' goal.

He helped the Flyers shut out the Canucks in the first and third periods. 

“We don’t like how they came back, but we held the lead and, like I said, we got the two points,” Gostisbehere said.

Ghost’s offensive showing evoked memories of his seemingly other-worldly 2015-16 season. In 64 games last season, he notched 17 goals, the most by an NHL rookie defenseman since Dion Phaneuf, then with Calgary, who scored 20 over a full 82-game schedule in 2005-06. Gostisbehere also enjoyed a historic 15-game point streak in 2015-16, the longest ever for a first-year rearguard, and he was a runnerup for the league’s Rookie of the Year award.

His return to form Sunday bodes well as the Flyers face two Metropolitan Division rivals this week, first Washington at home on Wednesday and then the Penguins in Pittsburgh on Saturday in an outdoor game that will pack plenty of hype and pressure. 

After those games, the Flyers face a more compressed schedule than they have lately. The Feb.12-27 portion of their calendar contains only five games. But starting Feb. 28, they will play their final 21 games of the regular season over 41 days as they push to make the playoffs.

“We definitely know we’re a playoff team, for sure,” Gostisbehere said. “It shows. It’s a big test for us (this) week, playing these really good teams.”

Flyers, at this point, should sell a few valuable veterans ahead of deadline

Flyers, at this point, should sell a few valuable veterans ahead of deadline

Dave Hakstol’s Flyers returned home from Vancouver on Monday not quite resembling conquering heroes.

Sure, they salvaged two points from their three-game trek to Western Canada, but for a team that supposedly sees itself as a wild card, that just ain’t gonna get it done.

The Flyers required at least four points — ideally, five — from the trip to give us some proof they’re a legit contender for the wild card.

Right now, their wild-card hopes remain on life support.

Yes, they’re only two points behind Toronto. Thing is, the field of wild-card contenders have officially caught up and even passed them.

When the Flyers left for the trip, they were even in points with the Maple Leafs while holding down the 9-seed in the Eastern Conference. Toronto had the second wild card.

Hakstol's team is the 11-seed now. Toronto, Florida and the New York Islanders are ahead of them with games in hand.

This trip should offer enough evidence to general manager Ron Hextall that his team is still floundering.

There are no moves Hextall can initiate at the trade deadline that will guarantee a playoff spot without mortgaging the future.

Since their return from the All-Star break, the Flyers are 3-5-1. Those numbers don’t suggest they’re headed to the playoffs.

And even if the Flyers were to qualify as the second wild card, they would face a very early exit against the Washington Capitals.

Again.

At this point, with the March 1 NHL trade deadline staring Hextall in the face, he has to be a seller at the deadline.

If you trust Hextall’s long-term plan of patience, you understand that what this is about is preserving assets and preparing young players to be integrated into the system next year and the year after, and the year after that.

Mark Streit and Michael Del Zotto are two unrestricted free agents who could help someone else right now.

Streit has been strong this season on the power play, which is his forte. He’s the perfect deadline rental.

Even if Hextall would like to have Streit’s veteran leadership on the blue line next season on a one-year, low salary to “tutor” Robert Hagg or Sam Morin or Travis Sanheim, he could still move Streit now and re-sign him later this summer.

Del Zotto, at 26, will get a nice return in draft picks or a prospect. Del Zotto is going to want a big contract this summer (he’s making $3.87 million now).

There’s no incentive for Hextall to go that direction given the sheer number of young, outstanding defensive prospects in the system that will be arriving shortly, all of whom come with very low salary cap hits.

Don’t blame Hextall for not getting involved in the Matt Duchene/Gabriel Landeskog saga that is going on in Colorado. GM Joe Sakic is asking a lot.

Hextall seems reluctant to part with any future prospects or young players just to get the same in return.

Much of the fan base has been saying for a while now it’s time to move team captain Claude Giroux. He's in the midst of his fourth consecutive season in which his numbers have declined, and in some respects, dramatically from his two best seasons — 2011-12 (93 points) and 2013-14 (86 points).

Yet there is no indication from Hextall or anyone in the Flyers' organization that such is even being contemplated.

Or that the organization feels Giroux’s leadership abilities have been assumed by Wayne Simmonds, who is arguably the most popular Flyer, two years running now.

Hextall still sees veterans such as Giroux, who is only 29, as a player who would help the transition of younger pups coming along — Travis Konecny, German Rubtsov, Nick Cousins, Jordan Weal, etc. — and he also believes Giroux can recapture his offense.

In short, Hextall is not going to tear his roster apart nor is he going to make a blockbuster trade next Wednesday. But he will likely try to sell veteran assets that make the team younger in some way.

Which is the correct thinking for the Flyers now and right into this summer, as well.