Every other Tuesday at 9 AM a new podcast will be released.
December 10, 2019 … The 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin were one of the most controversial in history. As World War II was about to explode, there was much debate as to whether or not the 1936 Olympic Games should even be held. In fact, there was a lot of talk as to whether or not the U.S. should attend or boycott. After much deliberation, the U.S. decided not to boycott and off to Berlin the U.S. contingent went including the first-ever U.S. Men’s Basketball Team. Basketball was making its debut as an official Olympic event, and the U.S., as one might expect, was favored to win gold. Not only did the U.S. win gold, but it dominated the tournament. But that was only part of the story. Sure, with Berlin and Nazi Germany serving as a backdrop, there was no doubt that controversy would abound. But there was so much more. From the way the team was selected, to determining who would suit up for each game, to the Gold Medal Game and the awarding of the Gold Medals, this Olympic story is filled with controversy. Capturing it all was author Andrew Maraniss who just recently published a new book, “Games of Deception: The True Story of the First U.S. Olympic Basketball Team at the 1936 Olympics in Hitler’s Germany.” On this edition of Sports’ Forgotten Heroes, Andrew joins the podcast to discuss the story about this fascinating team. We’ll cover how the team was selected, who the players were, and the fact that the man who invented the game, Dr. James Naismith, was not only in attendance, he was there to award the medals. We’ll also talk about the fact that the U.S. strongly considered boycotting and how one man persuaded the U.S. not to boycott. And let’s not forget, not only was this version of the Olympic Games held in a most controversial place, the basketball tournament was played outdoors, and the Gold Medal game didn’t come close to resembling what a Gold Medal game looks like today.
November 26, 2019 … Earl Morrall threw for over 20,000-yards during his 21-year NFL career. He was a part of three teams that won championships and was named NFL MVP in 1968 and he played a HUGE role in the Miami Dolphins perfect season of 1972. Not bad for a backup quarterback. In fact, Morrall played backup for guys like Fran Tarkenton, Johnny Unitas and Bob Griese. When Unitas went down in 1968, the Baltimore Colts didn’t lose a beat and Morrall led them to the NFL Championship. In 1972, after Bob Griese went down, Morrall picked up the slack and went 9-0 to help the Dolphins complete the NFL’s only perfect season. Joe Gibbs, who led the Washington Redskins to three Super Championships, once said the second most important position on a football team is backup quarterback and Morrall just might be considered the greatest backup ever. Morrall, who passed away in 2014, went 63-36-3 when he was called upon to step in and lead his team. The legendary Don Shula, who coached Morrall with the Baltimore Colts, knew the value of having a great backup, and when the Colts waived him, Shula who had moved on to the Miami Dolphins, quickly claimed Morrall despite the fact that Earl was 38-years old and had already played 16-years. Mark Sullivan, who grew up a fan of the Baltimore Colts and later became a member of the Professional Football Researcher’s Association, the PFRA, has conducted hour upon hour of research, and has written several articles on his favorite sport – football . Recently, Mark authored an article about Morrall for the Coffin Corner, the PFRA’s publication. In that article, Sullivan detailed the career of Morrall and now he joins Sports’ Forgotten Heroes for an in-depth discussion about Earl.
November 12, 2019 … The Detroit Wheels were one of the most inept teams in the history of sports. A member of the ill-fated World Football League, the Wheels figured out how to put a team together just in time for the WFL’s inaugural season of 1974. But fielding a team is not the same as building a team and putting a scheme that might actually equate to wins. The Wheels were incompetent in virtually every aspect of the game, from field a team, to managing a budget, to finding a stadium to call home, to hiring a coach with the kind of experience needed in order to be successful on the field. Mark Speck, who has made a hobby out of writing about the WFL and the teams that played in the league, authored the book, “Nothing But A Brand-New Set of Flat Tires,” is on Sports’ Forgotten Heroes as we talk about one the zaniest franchises in the history of sports.