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.

Best of MLB: Mets win in 10th on Yoenis Cespedes' walk-off HR

Best of MLB: Mets win in 10th on Yoenis Cespedes' walk-off HR

NEW YORK -- Yoenis Cespedes homered with two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning to give the New York Mets a 2-1 victory over the Miami Marlins in the first game of a pivotal series between National League playoff contenders Monday night.

Jose Reyes dashed home to score the tying run in the eighth on a dangerous collision at the plate, and the Mets pulled even with Miami for second place in the NL East. With its seventh victory in nine games, New York remained 2 1/2 games behind St. Louis for the league's second wild card.

It was an exhilarating win for the Mets, who appeared to be at a major disadvantage on the mound in the opener of a four-game set. New York was shut out for six innings by Marlins ace Jose Fernandez, but Mets starter Rafael Montero also put up zeros in his first major league start since April 2015 (see full recap).

Martinez's 13 K's, throwing error give Cards win
MILWAUKEE -- Stephen Piscotty scored on a throwing error in the ninth inning after Carlos Martinez struck out a career-high 13, leading the St. Louis Cardinals over the Milwaukee Brewers 6-5 on Monday night.

With two on and nobody out in the ninth, Yadier Molina dropped down a bunt. Reliever Tyler Thornburg (5-5) threw to third base for a force out, but Jonathan Villar's throw to first was wild, allowing Piscotty to score.

After Martinez held Milwaukee to one run over six innings, the Brewers scored four runs in the seventh to take a 5-3 lead. St. Louis tied it in the eighth on a two-run homer by Randal Grichuk off Corey Knebel.

Seung Hwan Oh pitched a perfect ninth for his 14th save. Miguel Socolovich (1-0) pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings to pick up his first win.

Jedd Gyorko and Kolten Wong each hit solo home runs for the Cardinals (see full recap).

Royals keep rolling, take down Yankees
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Dillon Gee kept the Royals' momentum going with six sharp innings, Alcides Escobar hit a three-run homer and Kansas City beat the New York Yankees 8-5 on Monday night to open their three-game set.

Gee (6-7) allowed only four hits and a run in the latest impressive start by the Royals' staff, helping the reigning World Series champions win for the 18th time in 22 games.

Lorenzo Cain, Kendrys Morales and Alex Gordon drove in runs off Michael Pineda (6-11) during a five-hit salvo in the first inning. Pineda then retired 15 straight before getting into a two-on, no-outs jam in the seventh that led to Escobar's homer off reliever Blake Parker.

Starlin Castro drove in two runs for the Yankees, the second in a four-run eighth inning that forced Kansas City manager Ned Yost to summon fill-in closer Kelvin Herrera (see full recap).

Jake Thompson tweaks delivery, offers ray of light on a dark night for Phillies

Jake Thompson tweaks delivery, offers ray of light on a dark night for Phillies

BOX SCORE

On the surface, this was not a very positive night at the ballpark for the Phillies. They had just four hits and lost, 4-0, to the Washington Nationals in front of the smallest crowd of the season – 16,056, announced – at Citizens Bank Park (see Instant Replay).
 
But lest we forget, this is a rebuilding season and in a rebuilding season the final score isn’t always paramount. So on an otherwise dark Monday night there was a ray of light for the Phillies.
 
Jake Thompson had the kind of start those who traded for him a year ago and those who watched him pitch this season in Triple A said he was capable of having.
 
“It was great to see,” manager Pete Mackanin said. “That’s just what he needed. He needed a real positive outing. I think this will do wonders for him down the road.”
 
Thompson held the NL East-leading Nationals to two runs over seven innings, his longest of five outings in the majors.
 
“He looked like the pitcher that was advertised,” Mackanin said.
 
Thompson’s first four outings in the majors were poor. He was tagged for 22 hits and 21 earned runs in 19 1/3 innings. He walked 13 and struck out 13. Those results were starkly different than his last 11 starts in Triple A. He went 8-0 in those 11 starts and recorded a 1.21 ERA while allowing just 10 earned runs in 74 1/3 innings. He gave up just 52 hits and 18 walks over that span while striking out 42.
 
After watching Thompson for four starts, pitching coach Bob McClure decided to suggest some delivery changes to the 22-year-old right-hander.
 
Players are often receptive to making adjustments when they are struggling. Thompson incorporated the changes McClure suggested and found success Monday night.
 
“We just tried to simplify his delivery so he could make better quality pitches,” McClure said.
 
In his old delivery, Thompson started off facing home plate. He pulled his arms over his head, turned and lifted his front leg before delivering the ball. McClure eliminated many of the moving parts. No more lifting the arms above the head. No more body turn. Thompson started his delivery with his body already turned, like a modified stretch. He simply lifted his leg, let his body go down the slope and fired. The new delivery slowed everything down for him. He looked poised, especially after the first couple of innings, and started attacking hitters with first-pitch strikes like a confident pitcher does.
 
Considering he only worked on the new delivery in two short bullpen sessions Saturday and Sunday in New York, Thompson was a pretty quick study.
 
“It was huge,” he said of the new delivery. “Just on the physical side of things, I’m in a better position to make pitches. I took away some moving parts to make it easier on myself.”
 
Thompson allowed seven hits, walked one and struck out three. All three strikeouts came in his final inning of work. He struck out leadoff man Trea Turner with two men on base with a slider to end the inning.
 
That’s another adjustment McClure made. He had Thompson stop throwing his curveball and focus on his fastball, slider, cutter and changeup.
 
Both of the runs that Thompson allowed came in the first inning on a solo homer by Jayson Werth and an RBI single by Anthony Rendon. After that, Thompson recorded six straight shutout innings. His teammates didn’t support him offensively. Washington right-hander Tanner Roark pitched seven shutout innings. He is 3-0 and has allowed just two runs in 28 innings in four starts against the Phils this season.
 
Thompson needed a start like this for a couple of reasons. First, if he had been pounded again, Phillies officials might have had to consider taking him out of the rotation just so his confidence didn’t get ruined.
 
And second, with Aaron Nola and Zach Eflin out with injuries, the team needed to know something was going right for one of the young pitchers being groomed for the future. Vince Velasquez, another young arm, had three poor outings before pitching well in New York on Sunday.
 
“This will help his confidence a lot,” McClure said.
 
McClure then offered a little glimpse into Thompson’s competitive character.
 
“He seemed pissed that he wasn't pitching well,” McClure said. “But he wasn't deflated. We felt like we should keep starting him because he didn't seem beaten. He seems like a tough kid mentally. We felt like once he started making better quality pitches, he'd get better results.”
 
It happened Monday, a ray of light on an otherwise dark night.

Instant Replay: Nationals 4, Phillies 0

Instant Replay: Nationals 4, Phillies 0

BOX SCORE

The Phillies were beaten, 4-0, by the Washington Nationals on Monday night, but wins and losses don’t matter as much as development in a rebuilding season, so there was a bright spot: Rookie right-hander Jake Thompson finally broke through with a good start in holding the Nats to two runs over seven innings.
 
The Phillies’ offense was not good. It produced just four hits on the night.
 
Washington got all the offense it needed when Jayson Werth, the second batter of the game, homered off Thompson in the first inning.

The Nats lead the NL East at 76-55. The Phils are 60-71.
 
The crowd of 16,056 was the smallest of the season at Citizens Bank Park.
 
Starting pitching report
Thompson had struggled in four starts — 9.78 ERA — since arriving from Triple A and there were questions whether he’d even make this start. But he put together a nice outing. After giving up two runs in the first inning, he pitched six straight scoreless innings, finishing his outing with three strikeouts, the last of which came on his 111th pitch when he froze Trea Turner with a breaking ball with two men on base. Thompson allowed seven hits — four in the first three innings — and walked one.
 
Washington right-hander Tanner Roark pitched seven shutout innings to improve to 14-7. He held the Phils to four hits and a walk and struck out five.

Roark is 3-0 with a 0.64 ERA (two earned runs in 28 innings) in four starts against the Phillies this season. The Nats are 15-4 in his last 19 starts.

Bullpen report
Frank Herrmann gave up two runs in the ninth.
 
At the plate
Odubel Herrera had two of the Phillies’ four hits.
 
Werth’s homer in the top of the first was his 19th. Anthony Rendon drove in a run with a two-out single in that inning. Clint Robinson and Turner had RBI singles in the ninth to push the Nats’ lead to 4-0.
 
ICYMI
Herrera is staying in center field for the remainder of the season, Pete Mackanin said (see story).
 
Up next
The series continues on Tuesday night. Jerad Eickhoff (9-12, 3.87) pitches against Washington right-hander Max Scherzer (14-7, 2.92).