Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Lovett And Halpern

TigerBlog is a fan of those 1970s sports Twitter feeds, the one that have old pictures of the players whom TB grew up watching.

He has his favorites, but even seeing the ones he couldn't stand makes him smile and takes him back. Also, if you want to know what the greatest way to ever watch NFL highlights has been, click HERE and you'll see.

The best game in that package is the one between Chicago and Oakland. Before the invention of FieldTurf, games on natural grass often turned into mud bowls like the one those two teams played.

Of course, there was also the old-fashioned artificial turf that you can see in some of the games. If you're not sure what it was like, it wasn't that much different than playing on very old carpet - or cement. 

For TigerBlog, watching the show requires several pauses to check out rosters from early 1970s, to remind himself of who No. 81 was or where that quarterback went to college.

Also, if you do watch, you can see a play in the Saints-Packers game that TB has never seen anywhere else. There was a blocked field goal that turned into a first down for the team whose field goal was blocked. 

The player who caught the pass, by the way, was No. 66 Ray Nitschke, a Green Bay linebacker who is as frightening a football player as has ever played the game.

It's also fun to see stadiums that no longer exist. TB was a big fan of watching football games with baseball lines and dirt patches for bases on them.

For some of the teams in the league, their uniforms are still essentially the same. For others, they've evolved way past where they were in those years, and, if you ask TB, they have not evolved for the better.

Look at the Eagles' highlights in that show. If you're an Eagles' fan, you wouldn't rather see your team still dressed in those unis? The same is true with the Rams.

Green Bay's uniforms haven't changed. The one that Nitschke was wearing is very similar to this one:

The player in the picture is, of course, Princeton's own John Lovett, who is now a tight end/fullback/whatever they need him to be for the Packers.

Lovett was the 2016 and 2018 Bushnell Cup winner as the Ivy League's Offensive Player of the Year. He missed the 2017 season due to a shoulder injury, and the Bushnell Cup winner that year was another Princeton quarterback, Chad Kanoff.

Lovett may not be as frightening as Nitschke, but he certainly is intimidating. He wasn't so much a quarterback at Princeton as much as a wrecking machine, a physical force that just overwhelmed the league. The result was a record-setting offense, wins in the final 13 games in which Lovett played, two Ivy League championships and a perfect 10-0 record his senior year.

He earned a Super Bowl ring while on injured reserve, was released in the off-season and is now in his first year with Green Bay. He was released at the end of training camp and then brought back to the practice squad, from which he was activated the first two weeks. At that point Green Bay either needed to sign him to the active roster or risk losing him on waivers before he could be returned to the practice squad, and Green Bay, seeing his value, put him on the active roster.

Lovett can throw, catch and run. So far in three games, he's done none of those things. What he has done is block and add a power dimension to the offense for a team that is 3-0.

Again, winning seems to follow Lovett around.

Speaking of winning, congratulations to Jeff Halpern, who became the latest Princeton alum to be a member of a Stanley Cup winner.

Halpern is an assistant coach for the Tampa Bay Lightning, who closed out the Dallas Stars - and another Princeton alum, Taylor Fedun - to win the Cup Monday night.

It was a long grind to get there for Tampa Bay. There was the majority of the regular season, then the break when the COVID-19 situation first arose, then the uncertainty of whether or not the season would resume and finally the games and the playoffs in the bubble. 

An asterisk for the Lightning? Quite the opposite. No team has ever had to do more to win a championship. 

Halpern becomes the fifth Princeton alum this century to be part of a Stanley Cup winner. 


No comments: