But Where Was Mamula? I Think I Found Him

But Where Was Mamula? I Think I Found Him

Mike Mamula has been a lot of things to a lot of different people. He’s been a cautionary tale to those easily seduced by eye-popping performances at the NFL Draft Combine. He’s been a source of frustration for Eagles fans thanks to his singular ability to consistently arrive at the opposing quarterback a half-second after the ball was released.

And to those who read A.J. Daulerio’s 2006 Deadspin Eagles Season Preview, he’s been a never-ending punchline. Specifically, after going point-by-point through yet another disappointing Eagles loss, A.J.’s exasperated father would inevitably ask the host of WIP’s postgame show “But where was Mamula?”

The question is beautiful in its simplicity. In four words it captures the frustration, disappointment, anger, wild expectation, retrospective disbelief over setting such wild expectations, and inevitably the heartbreak inherent in being an Eagles fan.

The phrase is also incredibly versatile. It can be angry, sarcastic, forlorn, or exclamatory. The defensive line is getting destroyed in the run game? BUT WHERE WAS MAMULA? The front four is getting zero pressure on the quarterback? BUT WHERE WAS MAMULA? Andy Reid burns a timeout because the defense only had ten men on the field? BUT WHERE WAS MAMULA?

See? How cathartic is that? I’ve never felt so good asking a rhetorical question. The satisfying part of the question is that there is no answer. Quite simply, Mamula’s whereabouts are best left unknown.

Well, that’s what I told myself until my world was rocked on Sunday night.

As a married man I am often subjected to televisions shows I’d never in a million years watch but for maintaining marital harmony. By in large these shows appear on either Lifetime or Bravo.

My wife often complains that sports never end. I am firmly entrenched in a twelve months a year sports watching regimen – baseball, basketball, football, hockey, soccer. She’s right, it never ends. It’s amazing.

Well, the devious folks over at Bravo have taken a page from the world of sports and have created so many seasons of “The Real Housewives” that it too never ends. Andy Cohen is an evil genius.

So, imagine my surprise on Sunday night when some indeterminate episode of “The Real Housewives” ended and the pilot of a new reality show called “Thicker Than Water: The Marinos” began. The details of the show are not important.

Essentially, it’s a show about four adult siblings, all of whom are married, who do stuff in front of tv cameras. I think that pretty much sums it up.

What is important is that the show takes place somewhere in South Jersey – I think maybe Bordentown. The final scene is a birthday party for one of the Marino people who for some reason has a television show.

Again, the specifics don’t matter. There’s a quick cut to a shot of three guests on the porch.

My eyes locked in on the guy in the middle. No. No shot. Wait. Let me pause this and take a closer look. Is it? It kind of looks like him. That’s got to be him.

Oh my god. THERE’S MAMULA!

After all of these years of asking the question he just appears on my TV screen – on Bravo? He’s a guest at the birthday party of someone who has a reality television show? That’s where Mamula is?

It makes zero sense, which in a strange Mamulian way makes total sense. I am maybe 99% certain that’s him. However, you’re crazy if you think I won’t cling to that 1% chance it’s actually not him.

I don’t want to live in a world where you can answer the question “But where was Mamula?” 

*

Here's a larger shot, next to this flickr photo of Mamula for comparison. 


From the 2006 Archives: Mike Mamula can swim

Penn State not going to College Football Playoff, likely headed to Rose Bowl

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USA Today Images

Penn State not going to College Football Playoff, likely headed to Rose Bowl

Penn State's wild comeback win over Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship was not enough.

The Nittany Lions were not selected to the four-team College Football Playoff, finishing fifth in the rankings.

Undefeated Alabama takes the top spot and will play No. 4 Washington. No. 2 Clemson will face No. 3 Ohio State.

Penn State earned its signature win of the season, handing felllow Big Ten member Ohio State its only loss of the season. 

However, Penn State sputtered in the beginning of the year, losing to unranked Pittsburgh and was thrashed by Michigan — who finished sixth in the College Football Playoff rankings — 49-10.

The Nittany Lions likely will play in the Rose Bowl, facing either USC or Colorado. The official announcement will be made later Sunday.

Dario Saric halts slump with 'best game as a 76er'

Dario Saric halts slump with 'best game as a 76er'

Dario Saric came into the NBA knowing his rookie season would be one of ups and downs. He would have successes based on his talent and struggle because of the newness of the league and matchups.

Saturday’s performance against the Celtics was one of those highlight nights. Saric scored 21 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, both tying career-highs, for his third double-double. He was efficient in his performance, playing 27 minutes off the bench in the Sixers' 107-106 loss.

“I thought that was his best game as a 76er,” Brett Brown said.

Saric had struggled the night before against the Magic. He barely made a dent in 16 minutes, posting just two points (1 for 5 from the field) without a single rebound. The poor showing was on his mind Saturday, as he got ready for the second game of the back-to-back. He went in early to get up extra shots, met with coaches, studied film and thought about the matchup throughout the day.

“I prepared a little bit more for this game,” Saric said. “After I have some bad rhythm of five or six, maybe, games. Now I concentrate more. I try to give my best, try to play my best, try to think before everything happens.”

Saric showed his aggressiveness in crunch time in the fourth quarter, when he scored seven points and five rebounds in eight minutes. He nailed a three to cut the Celtics' lead to 92-91 with 4:28 to play. Then with 1:09 remaining, Saric’s free throws cut the Celtics' lead to two points. On the other end of the court, he snagged the rebound off an Isaiah Thomas miss and scored a game-tying layup from Jahlil Okafor.  

“He played great,” Okafor said. “He’s working hard every day, getting used to the NBA process. It was good to see hard work paying off for him.”

Saric has been adjusting to new roles throughout the season. He was thrown into the starting power forward spot when Ben Simmons was injured, and then moved to the bench when the team acquired Ersan Ilyasova. On Saturday, Brown also played Saric at small forward in Robert Covington’s (knee) absence, a shift the Sixers may try again.

“He’s a good teammate,” Brown said. “He’s biding his time. He understands he’s a rookie. Incrementally, he’ll be given these opportunities. Tonight he did and he responded and you’re seeing continued growth.”

Saric still is early in his NBA career, and Saturday's showing was a game he can look back on and study for the rest of the season. 

“I feel like tonight … you’d walk away and say, ‘Shoot, that’s a hell of a player for playing 20 games in the NBA and he did what he just did against a hell of a team,’” Brown said. “I’m proud of what we saw all over the place from Dario.”