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.

New Jersey product Tim Adleman limits Phillies to 1 hit over 8 innings

New Jersey product Tim Adleman limits Phillies to 1 hit over 8 innings

Cincinnati Reds starter Tim Adleman came into Friday night's start against the Phillies with an ERA above six, having allowed 10 runs in his last 5 2/3 innings. 

So, naturally, he gave up just one hit over eight scoreless innings. 

The 29-year-old righty dominated the Phillies in just his 20th career MLB start en route to his third win this season, pitching easily the best game of his young career in a 5-2 Reds' win (see game recap).

It was understandably the best that Reds manager Bryan Price had seen from Adleman.
 
"It wasn't just because of the line score," Price said. "It was really command-based. Really good both sides of the plate. Had a nice sinking fastball, could straighten it out when he needed to. A very, very good changeup. I don't think he even used a breaking ball there until the eighth inning.

"So it was really that good."

At just 100 pitches through eight, naturally the question for Price was whether to allow him the chance at a complete game. However, Price needed to get reliever Asher Wojciechowski work to get him ready for a start next week.

"I wanted to stay in there pretty badly, but you understand the move," Adleman said. "Wojo needed to get some work. It had been a while since he threw and it's a game in May. It's not a game that's deeper in the season. … I totally understand."

For his eight innings, Adleman attacked the Phillies' batters early in counts and didn't allow a batter to reach third all night. He retired the leadoff batter in all but one inning and allowed just four batters to reach base.

The Phillies' only threat came in the first inning. An Andres Blanco single was followed by an Aaron Altherr hit by pitch. That brought up Thursday's hero — Tommy Joseph — with two men on and just one out. Adleman utilized his changeup on a 1-2 pitch, inducing a weak grounder back to the mound for a 1-4-3 double play. 

In three at-bats against Joseph, Adleman recorded three groundball outs, all on the changeup, which is his primary off-speed offering.

"The scouting report is that he's a really good fastball hitter. Does a lot of damage on fastballs," Adleman said, "so if you can get him in situations where you're confident he's looking for a fastball and then cut a changeup on him, it can be really effective. Obviously, you have to keep it down, but that's the same with all your pitches."

Joseph's at-bats set the trend for the rest of the Phillies' lineup. The Reds' starter kept the ball down and didn't allow another baserunner until he walked Blanco to lead off the seventh. Sixteen of his 24 outs came on groundballs and only five pitches were hit past the infield. 

Adleman stated his goal was to use the Phillies' aggressiveness against them with strikes early in the count, and it worked. It was his first time pitching into the eighth inning in his career and he did so with almost exclusively his fastball and changeup.

"I think it had a lot to do with that little pause [in his delivery] and he did a good job changing speeds on us," Joseph said. "He basically did it with two pitches, which says a lot about how hard this game can be. Hats off to him. 

"Next time, we'll see if we can't get him back."

In a way, Adleman was getting the Phillies back. He made the third start of his career at Citizens Bank Park last year on May 14. He took the loss against Friday's starter, Aaron Nola, while allowing three runs in five innings.

Born in Staten Island, Adleman was raised in New Jersey, but grew up a Yankees fan. He hadn't been to CBP until college, when he faced Villanova while playing for Georgetown. 

At 29, he's a little old for a second-year starter because he took a winding road to the major leagues. Drafted by the Orioles in 2010, he was nearly out of baseball by 24. He spent two years in independent leagues before catching on with the Reds and debuting in the show last season.

The journeyman starter had struggled in his last few starts, which helped his ERA balloon to 6.19. However, his Friday night opponent seemed more than happy to take some air out of the balloon. Adleman became the fifth pitcher in the last six days to come into a start against the Phillies with an ERA of 5.00 or above and allow one run or less over at least five innings. 

"It feels good," Adleman said of his night. "Philly's a good young team and Nola is making quite a name for himself. He out-pitched me last year and coming into tonight I knew I had an opportunity to right the ship so to speak."

Pete Mackanin calls team meeting after Phillies hit low point with 21st loss in 26 games

Pete Mackanin calls team meeting after Phillies hit low point with 21st loss in 26 games

BOX SCORE

When the opposing pitcher comes in with an ERA that matches the area code for San Diego — 6.19 — and holds you scoreless on one single over eight innings, well …

You've reached the low point of your season.

And it's time for a team meeting.

Phillies manager Pete Mackanin called for a little powwow after his club suffered a 5-2 loss to the Cincinnati Reds on Friday night (see Instant Replay). Don't let the final score fool you. It wasn't that close. The loss was the Phillies' 21st in the last 26 games. They were held to three hits for the fourth time in the last six games — five losses — and have scored just nine runs over that span.

Mackanin acknowledged that this was the low point for his team, which owns the worst record in the majors at 16-30. Cincinnati starting pitcher Tim Adleman entered the game with a 6.19 ERA, but he pitched like an ace in holding the Phillies to just a first-inning single over his eight shutout innings (see story). Adleman walked two, struck out four and at one point set down 16 straight Phillies. The 29-year-old right-hander has made 20 starts in his big-league career and this was by far the best.

"Yeah," Mackanin said when asked if the loss was the season's low point. "We need to step it up. We're better than this. I know we're better than this. We've just got to start playing as aggressive as we can and take it to the other team. Be aggressive at the plate and pound the strike zone."

That apparently was Mackanin's message to the club in his postgame meeting, though he would not talk about it.

"He just wants to see us play with a little more fire and a little more energy," Aaron Altherr said. "You know, it's something we've got to do. Today wasn't too great. But, like I said, hopefully we can right the ship and start winning some games again."

Tommy Joseph was tight-lipped on the content of the team meeting.

"That's basically stuff that was between us," he said. "There's a pretty good understanding that we need to get going in here and that was really it. I think the rest is pretty self-explanatory and what he had to say is between us.

"It's definitely not a lack of effort. Everybody is out there trying to get the job done. I think there are certain nights when the job is getting done. When things start to spark a little bit, everybody feeds off that. Obviously there are some nights where that doesn't happen. It's definitely not from a lack of effort. Everybody is going out there busting their ass, so it's just a matter of sometimes it goes our way and sometimes it doesn't."

Mackanin used slumping Odubel Herrera in the leadoff spot for the first time this season and he produced a ninth-inning double after Adleman exited. The Phillies actually loaded the bases with one out in the ninth, but a fielder's choice groundball and then a strikeout by Maikel Franco, the potential tying run, ended the game. Franco struck out swinging wildly at a full-count breaking ball from Raisel Iglesias.

Joseph mentioned that Adleman changed speeds well and used a slight hesitation in his delivery to throw off hitters.

But was it more the pitcher or more just a bad offense?

"It's hard to tell," Mackanin said. "That's a daily question. Are we not hitting the ball like we should or is the pitcher that good? It seems like I look up and every other pitcher we face has a 6.00 ERA, but I think it's all because we're missing good pitches to hit. We're getting pitches to hit and we're not hitting them."

Aaron Nola did not have a good start. He gave up a pair of homers in falling behind, 3-0, after two innings, and, obviously, there was no coming back, not with this offense.

The Philies are 5-18 in the month of May.

Or should we say Mayday?

"We're trying to stay positive, as positive as we can throughout this stretch," Altherr said. "You know, it's tough sometimes when things are going the way they are. We're just going to keep being positive, keep trying to bring as much energy as we can to win some games."