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.

Let the bidding begin for Mike Trout, who Angels must move at some point

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Let the bidding begin for Mike Trout, who Angels must move at some point

Yes, the Angels are going to trade Mike Trout.

It may not happen this year or even next year, but eventually Angels GM Billy Eppler will accept the reality of the bleak future ahead for his franchise. Albert Pujols, who has five years and $140 million remaining on his contract after this season, has taken the baton from Ryan Howard for the worst contract in baseball. Good luck getting out of that deal. Other than the increasingly rare Pujols hot streak, they have nobody equipped to protect Trout in the lineup. 

The starting rotation has been patched together, with both Garrett Richards and Andrew Heaney going down with elbow injuries early this season. Unless one of those guys comes back healthy, there isn’t a No. 1 or No. 2 starter on the roster. Theoretically, the Angels will have money to spend on the free-agent market with both C.J. Wilson and Jered Weaver coming off the books after the season. But with Andrew Cashner and Jeremy Hellickson the likely headliners on the pitching market, a quick fix for the rotation seems unlikely. 

The 2017 free-agent market for hitters isn’t much better. Should Yoenis Cespedes opt out of his contract with the Mets, he could provide a potent presence behind Trout, but there will be stiff competition for his services and he’ll be in line for a massive payday. 

Toronto’s once-dynamic duo of Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista should be available, but both appear to be trending downward. Giving either player a long-term deal is a risky investment at best. 

Building around the young players in the organization isn’t a viable option. By all accounts, the Angels have the worst farm system in baseball. You can check out those rankings here or here. This is a franchise in dire need of an infusion of young talent. 

We’ve seen the Phillies in a similar situation with Cole Hamels. Once there was no way forward to win with him, the only reasonable option was to trade him. Even the most ardent Hamels supporters have to admit now that moving him made sense.  

Yes, Trout is only 24 years old and is the best all-around player in baseball. The Angels should certainly explore every possible option to build a winner around the South Jersey native, who is in the second season of a six-year deal that will pay him $119 million from 2017 through 2020. But the franchise is trending in the wrong direction. If they cannot honestly see a path to contending with him, they should look to move him and jump-start a rebuild. There will be no shortage of suitors. 

So ignore the notion that you never trade an “inner-circle Hall of Famer,” which Trout certainly is on track to become. He is signed through 2019 and the clock is ticking. 

Let the bidding begin. 

Josh Hart discusses NBA draft process, returning to Villanova

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Josh Hart discusses NBA draft process, returning to Villanova

Josh Hart said the decision wasn’t easy.

But he’s happy with it.

After withdrawing his name from the NBA draft to return to school (see story), Hart is excited to focus on Villanova, graduation and then the NBA dream.

“I love the school, I love the teachers, the student body, the support, my teammates that we have coming back,” the 6-foot-5 guard said Wednesday on Comcast SportsNet’s Philly Sports Talk. “So it was a tough one and I just thought at the end of the day, I think going back for my senior year would be in the best interest of my parents and myself.”

As a junior, Hart helped Villanova win its second national championship in program history by leading the Wildcats in scoring with 15.5 points per game while shooting 51.3 percent from the field.

Hart received plenty of feedback from NBA teams. He said shooting and ball handling are what he hopes to improve.

As far as his draft stock …

“There were teams interested maybe in the first [round], and then there were teams that said they would take me in the second,” Hart said. “But there’s a whole month before the draft, a lot of teams didn’t know exactly what they were doing with their picks — whether they were trying to trade up for a pick, trying to trade down, trying to trade a pick for a player. Several teams said that they would take me.”

For more from Hart on the draft and Villanova, watch the video above.

NHL Playoffs: Sharks win to reach 1st Stanley Cup Final

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NHL Playoffs: Sharks win to reach 1st Stanley Cup Final

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and the rest of the San Jose Sharks gathered around the Campbell Bowl for a celebratory picture after winning the Western Conference final.

In that moment, all those past playoff disappointments and collapses were forgotten. It will take four more wins to put to rest those questions about if they had the fortitude to win it all.

Captain Joe Pavelski scored an early goal, Joel Ward added two more and the Sharks advanced to their first Stanley Cup final in franchise history by beating the St. Louis Blues 5-2 on Wednesday night in Game 6 of the Western Conference final.

"It's a pretty cool feeling," Thornton said. "Obviously it's our first time. It was pretty neat to get this done at home. The fans here have waited so long, 25 years. We've waited 18 years or so. So it's a great feeling."

Joonas Donskoi also scored, Logan Couture had an empty-netter and Martin Jones made 24 saves as a Sharks team notorious for postseason letdowns will play for the championship that has eluded Thornton and Marleau since they entered the league as the top two picks in 1997.

Thornton assisted on Pavelski's goal less than four minutes into the game to set the tone and Marleau had two assists in the third period that set off chants of "We Want The Cup! We Want The Cup!"

"We're just enjoying the ride right now," Marleau said. "We've had some really good teams over the years."

Despite making the playoffs 16 times in 18 seasons and winning the second-most games in the NHL since the start of the 2003-04 season, the Sharks have been known for their soul-crushing playoff disappointments.

They won just three games in three previous trips to the conference final, were knocked out twice in four seasons by a No. 8 seed and most notably blew a 3-0 series lead to lose in the first round to Los Angeles in 2014.

The impact of that loss lasted for a while as San Jose missed the playoffs entirely last season. But led by first-year coach Peter DeBoer and bolstered by some key acquisitions by general manager Doug Wilson, the Sharks recovered this year and are now only four wins from a championship.

Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final will be Monday night. The Sharks will either host Tampa Bay or visit Pittsburgh, depending on which team wins Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final Thursday night.

"It's a great moment for those guys who have put in a lot of work but we still have another series to go," Couture said. "We still have four more wins to try to get. It's another step. This is the third one now. We're ready for that next challenge."

With the loss, the Blues' postseason woes continue as the franchise still seeks its first championship and first trip to the Cup final since 1970. Coach Ken Hitchcock's second goalie change of the series did not work as Brian Elliott allowed four goals on 26 shots in his return to the net.

Vladimir Tarasenko, a 40-goal scorer in the regular season, got his first points of the series when he scored twice in the third period but it was too late for the Blues, who still trailed 4-2.

"It stings right now," captain David Backes said. "Six more wins and we're having parades on Market Street. Right now ... not enough."

This was the first time in San Jose's history that the team played with a trip to the Stanley Cup final on the line. The atmosphere in the Shark Tank reflected the high stakes with the fans at a frenzy during pregame introductions and the "Let's Go Sharks!" chants starting soon after the puck dropped.

The Sharks fed off that energy and were buzzing early as Hitchcock predicted before the game. St. Louis nearly silenced the crowd when Alexander Steen got a chance in the slot early in the period but Jones robbed him with a glove save.

That led to a breakaway for Thornton, who missed the net on his chance. But Pavelski recovered the puck behind the net and before Elliott knew what was happening, Pavelski tucked the puck in on a wraparound for his NHL-leading 13th goal of the playoffs.

San Jose added to the lead early in the second when Ward tipped a point shot from Brent Burns past Elliott to make it 2-0.

Ward's second goal and another by Donskoi in the third period removed any drama and allowed the fans to celebrate and the Blues to ponder their missed opportunity.

"They're hurting right now," Hitchcock said. "We're all hurting. "You don't want this to be our best opportunity. You want this to be a building block."

Notes
Marleau played his 165th career playoff game, the most ever for someone who never played in the finals. Thornton is next on the list with 150 games, followed by Curtis Joseph with 133. ... The only franchise that has played longer than San Jose without going to a Cup final is Arizona, which began NHL play as the Winnipeg Jets in 1979-80.