Manny Pacquiao and Sean Payton help Krissy Kobata in search for bone marrow

DSCN7210

By Leighton Ginn

The campaign to find a bone-marrow match for Los Angeles woman Krissy Kobata continues to attract famous supporters.

On Aug. 17, boxing great Manny Pacquiao and New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton tweeted their support of Kobata.

Pacquiao, the Boxer of the Decade and a senator in the Philippines, Tweeted out a link to the Asian American Sports Journalists story on Kobata, and followed up by Tweeting a link to Be The Match’s website. Be The Match is a national bone-marrow registry that also sends out kits for people to test themselves and register.

Screenshot_20170817-111605

Also joining the action was Payton, who coached the Saints to the Super Bowl title in 2010, when they beat the Indianapolis Colts 31-17.

Payton is represented by agent Don Yee, who is a family friend of Kobata.

“Don Yee, my agent, with the help of Sports Task Force is spreading the word about Krissy Kobata,” Payton posted, along with the same link to the Facebook story.

Screenshot_20170817-112105

The Sports Task Force, part of the Asian American Journalist Association, began spreading the word of Kobata’s search.

http://sportstaskforce.com/japanese-american-krissy-kobata-desperately-needs-bone-marrow-donor/

Half Japanese, half Caucasian, Kobata has been searching for a donor for a decade, but her ethnicity makes it difficult to find a match.

Yee, who established the Jimmie & Suey Fong Yee Scholarship in honor of his parents, asked the Sports Task Force to help share the story of Kobata’s situation.

Processed with VSCO with  preset

The group’s unofficial page, Asian American Sports Journalists, published a story on July 29 about Kobata. Through social media, the post had reached  51,805 on Facebook the morning of Aug. 14.

Later that day, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, also one of Yee’s clients, posted on his Facebook page about Kobata.

About an hour later, actress Chloe Bennet of ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. sent out five Tweets in a row about Kobata.

How Tom Brady’s Facebook post is spreading awareness for Krissy Kobata, who needs a bone marrow to live

Within 24 hours, Kobata’s Facebook post had reached over 1 million more people. Currently, the post has reached 1,170,526 on Aug. 17. There was also a story posted in USA Today’s For The Win.

http://ftw.usatoday.com/2017/08/tom-brady-patriots-facebook-nfl-agent-bone-marrow-donor-awareness-krissy-kobata

To learn more about Krissy, go to teamkrissy.com

If you want to register as a bone marrow donor, go to https://join.bethematch.org/teamkrissy

 

 

 

Who will replace Beyoncé as a headliner at Coachella, and will it be a woman?

2-23-17-bruno-mars

By Leighton Ginn

Of all the people to withdraw from Coachella, Beyoncé was the toughest one to take for 2017.

Beyoncé is outside of Coachella’s comfort zone of indie acts, and its such a huge attraction that a large part of the tickets were purchased just for her appearance. She was also the first woman in a decade to headline, which promoters were probably hoping would end the “Brochella” nickname.

Due to doctor’s orders, Beyoncé cancelled, but promised to headline Coachella the next year.

So who can fill the large hole created by Beyoncé?  When it comes to her stature and body of work, it’s an irreplaceable talent and it won’t satisfy her fans, who have seen the price plummet on the secondary market (the scalpers).

There are numerous great acts, but it’s apples and oranges.

And should it be a woman?

I think at this point, Coachella will have to take whoever it can get. A few woman can headline with the large appeal of Beyoncé, but are not necessarily a Coachella act. At this point, that might not be important.

For acts who don’t mind replacing Beyoncé, the other factor is putting on a headlining-worthy show on short notice. It makes it tough for acts who are not touring or rehearsing to pull the trigger.

Because let’s face it, expectations will be high, and people watching will be incredibly judgmental.

Here’s a look at possible replacements.

LADY GAGA

Her stock has always been high, and after her Super Bowl and Grammy performances, it’s skyrocketing.

Gaga would be the best option. She has a new CD and her world tour doesn’t begin until August. This would be a great jump start.

But Gaga will hit the West Coast in August and December, including shows at the Forum during both of those months. Will that be too much Gaga? And I’m not sure if the promoters of her tour would go for that.

Then again, the publicity could create an even bigger frenzy.

RIHANNA

Another terrific possibility. Rihanna was at the Indio Polo Grounds in October performing with Paul McCartney and has been at Coachella as a fan and guest star with 2016 headliner Calvin Harris.

Currently, she has no tour dates. It could be asking a lot of her to put together a headlining act with rehearsals in what could be a one-off (or actually two-off) performance.

BRUNO MARS

His tour doesn’t begin until July, and he would go over big with Coachella fans.

He’s never played.

But there could be an ego thing, in that he might want to play Coachella with a huge buildup that traditionally begins in January.

Not sure if he’s had regular talks with Goldenvoice, so who knows if it would be a good fit.

ADELE

I think she would be a great headliner, but maybe being a replacement would be a bad move.

Although gracious at the Grammys,  not sure Adele fans are also Beyoncé fans and vice versa. While Adele has a huge following, it might not satisfy the ticket buyers. Generally, Adele’s shows are more stripped down, compare to the large productions you get from Beyoncé.

She would be great at Coachella, but the cards might be too stacked in replacing Beyoncé. .

KANYE WEST

He’s been a last minute addition for promoters Goldenvoice, and he’s been a great headliner at Coachella. Plus, Kanye wouldn’t have to travel far.

But of course he had personal issues that prematurely ended his tour and saw him in the hospital following his breakdown.

You hope that he will be healthy before considering taking on Coachella.

JAY Z

Considering what Lemonade is about, maybe it’s not a good idea for Jay Z to be away from his pregnant wife to perform at Coachella over two weekends.

MISCELLANEOUS

I’ve said U2 and Green Day in a former blog. And it would make sense since their schedules could accommodate it. But again, short notice and their music might not satisfy the Beyoncé ticket buyers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Making the case: Tom Flores into the Pro Football Hall of Fame #TomFloresHOF

By Leighton Ginn

This is my regularly scheduled rant about how former Oakland and Los Angeles Raiders head coach Tom Flores needs to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

This year, I’m adding a hashtag #TomFloresHOF to help spread the word.

The resume of Flores is remarkable. Some of the highlights:

  • Flores won two Super Bowls as a head coach, 1981 with the Oakland Raiders and 1984 with the Los Angeles Raiders.
  • Flores has a Super Bowl title as a player with the Kansas City Chiefs (1970)
  • Flores, a Mexican American, is the first minority coach to win a Super Bowl. No Hispanic coach has won a Super Bowl, although Ron Rivera reached the Super Bowl last year with Carolina.
  • His 1984 Super Bowl title is the only one won in Southern California, which also had the Rams and Chargers.
  • The Raiders have not won a Super Bowl since Flores left.
  • Flores won a Super Bowl as an assistant coach with the Raiders in 1977 under John Madden. Another way of looking at it is, the Raiders has never won a Super Bowl without Flores.
  • Of the 23 coaches in the Hall of Fame (15 in the Super Bowl era), only Chuck Noll (4), Bill Walsh (3) and Joe Gibbs (3) have won more Super Bowl titles.
  • Only Flores and Mike Ditka have won Super Bowls as a player, assistant coach and head coach.
  • Coached seven Hall of Famers: Marcus Allen, Dave Casper, Ray Guy, Mike Haynes, Howie Long, Art Shell and Gene Upshaw.

So it needs to be pointed out that there are 12 coaches in the Hall of Fame who coached in the Super Bowl era who has two or less Super Bowl titles.

Get Tom Flores into the Hall of Fame now

Among those in the two-title group that are not in the Hall of Fame are Jimmy Johnson, who built the Dallas Cowboys dynasty in the 90s, and George Seifert, who maintained the San Francisco 49ers dynasty in the post-Joe Montana era.

There’s also Bill Belicheck, who has four Super Bowl titles and his induction appears to be a forgone conclusion.

But if you look beyond the resume, Flores was a pioneer in football. He might have been too modest about his accomplishments and the doors he’s opened.

Diversity is a problem for the NFL. If it wasn’t, something like the Rooney Rule would not exist.

Today, more than ever, the NFL needs to celebrate it’s diversity, and that begins with Tom Flores.

The Case for Tom Flores to Enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame

Here is an updated list of the Hall of Fame voters, with Twitter handles.

Kent Somers @kentsomers

Len Pasquarelli

Scott Garceau @ScottGShow1057

Vic Carucci @VicCarucci

Darin Gantt @DarinGantt

Dan Pompei @danpompei

Geoff Hobson @GeoffHobsonCin

Tony Grossi @TonyGrossi

Rick Gosselin @RickGosselinDMN

Jeff Legwold @Jeff_Legwold

Dave Birkett @DaveBirkett

Pete Dougherty @PeteDougherty

John McClain @McClain_on_NFL

Mike Chappell  @MChappell51

Sam Kouvaris @SamKouvaris

Randy Covitz @RandyCovitz

Armando Salguero @ArmandoSalguero

Mark Craig @MarkCraigNFL

Ron Borges @RonBorges

Jeff Duncan @JeffDuncan_

Bob Glauber @BobGlauber

Gary Myers @GaryMyersNYDN

Frank Cooney @FrankCooney

Paul Domowitch @pdomo

Ed Bouchette @EdBouchette

Kevin Acee @sdutKevinAcee   

Mike Sando @SandoESPN

Ira Kaufman @IKaufmanTBO

David Climer @DavidClimer

David Elfin @DavidElfin

Mary Kay Cabot @MaryKayCabot

Howard Balzer (@HBalzer721)

Jarrett Bell @JarrettBell

John Clayton @ClaytonESPN

Jason Cole @JasonColeBR

John Czarnecki,

Dan Fouts

Clark Judge @ClarkJudgeTOF

Peter King @SI_PeterKing

James Lofton @Lofton80

Ira Miller

Sal Paolantonio @SalPal_ESPN

Vito Stellino @VitoStellino

Jim Trotter @JimTrotter_NFL

Charean Williams @NFLCharean

Barry Wilner @Wilner88

 

 

Heisman winners and prolific arms: the quarterbacks (and a tailback) Norm Chow coached

 

By Leighton Ginn

One of the top offensive minds in the history of college football, Norm Chow made his reputation on building quarterbacks at both Brigham Young and USC, as well as an impressive short stint at North Carolina State.

Chow spent 27 years (1973-99) at BYU. At various times, he was the Cougars’ assistant head coach, offensive coordinator, co-offensive coordinator, quarterbacks coach, receivers coach, recruiting coordinator and graduate assistant (1973 and 1974).

He coached six of the NCAA’s top 16 career passing efficiency leaders and was involved with squads that hold 11 of the top 30 single season passing yardage totals in NCAA history. He coached in 22 bowls at BYU and was on the staff of the Cougars’ 1984 national championship team. BYU went 244-91-3 during his time in Provo.

He was named the National Assistant Coach of the Year in 1999 by the American Football Foundation and in 1993 by Athlon. He was the 1996 Division I Offensive Coordinator of the Year by American Football Quarterly. In 1996, he was a finalist for the Broyles Award.

CARSON PALMER

palmer-carson-throwing-pg

Carson Palmer drops back to pass / photo courtesy of USC Athletics

 

CARSON PALMER: Some people think Palmer was the definitive quarterback of all of Chow’s protege. A highly recruited quarterback, Palmer was considered a underachiever prior to Chow’s arrival.

In two years with Chow, Palmer became one of the top quarterbacks in USC history en route to the Heisman Trophy.

Chow said when he got to USC, the playbook was reduced by 75 percent.

“I think we allowed him to be him,” Chow said. “You need to give your guy a chance to cut loose and play. There’s only so many reads you can make and there’s only so much you can do to that. You just let them play after a while. I think Carson took to that.”

“We always laugh about that because there’s only so many routes you can throw anyways.”

MATT LEINART

NCAA Football - Cal vs. University of Southern California

USC quarterback Matt Leinart drops back to pass during 23-17 victory over Cal at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Pac-10 Conference football game on Saturday, Oct. 9, 2004 / photo courtesy of USC Athletics

 

MATT LEINART: The heir apparent to Carson Palmer, Leinart beat out Matt Cassel and Brandon Hance for the starting job as a sophomore.

He would led the Trojans to two national titles and won the 2004 Heisman Trophy.

During their time together, Chow was impressed with how cerebral Leinart was. He remembers during practice how Leinart would call out head coach Pete Carroll’s defensive alignments.

For Chow, he doesn’t understand how Leinart’s success didn’t continue in the NFL.

“That was one of the real mysteries for me, why he’s not in the league. He’s good enough and he’s smart enough,” Chow said. “He was also cerebral as heck. He didn’t have a great arm and maybe that got him in trouble. But he was very accurate and had great anticipations.

“I swore that he would not only take a team to the national championship, but he would also take a team to the Super Bowl. I don’t know what happened.”

 

TY DETMER

TY DETMER: A case of don’t judge a book by its cover.

Detmer  didn’t have the physical tools of a prototypical quarterback, which was evident when they were in the locker room before a game at Colorado State.

“I was next to him and he took his shirt off. ‘Holy geez, we got to play a game with this guy who was 175-pounds dripping wet,'” Chow remembered. “But 400 yards later, we put the balls away and went home with the W.”

Chow said Detmer had a father as a coach and his understanding of the game was ahead of others. The only other player who had a mind like Detmer was Jim McMahon.

Detmer was the first player to win a Heisman Trophy for Chow, so many people wanted to take credit for recruiting Detmer.

Chow said it was a what, not a who, that attracted Detmer to BYU.

Detmer was going on recruiting trips to Colorado, Utah and then Los Angeles. In between the trip from Utah to Los Angeles, Detmer paid a visit to the Provo River, which was well-known for its fly fishing.

Once Detmer went fishing, he decided he would go to BYU.

Today, Detmer is following in Chow’s footsteps as the offensive coordinator at BYU.

“I text him after ball games,” Chow said. “To see some of the things he does is fascinating. He’s a tremendously gifted mind in the game of football.”

REGGIE BUSH

USC

USC tailback Reggie Bush breaks loose against Virginia Tech as coach Pete Carroll looks on. The Trojans won 24-13 / Photo courtesy of USC Athletics

REGGIE BUSH: One of the most gifted offensive players Chow ever worked with, Bush gave his offense a dimension he never enjoyed before.

“He was ahead of his time in college,” Chow said. “He was so good and so quick.”

Bush won his Heisman Trophy the year after Chow had left to become the offensive coordinator with the Tennessee Titans.

Chow said Bush was another receiver for his offense because of his good hands and the mismatches he created.

Notre Dame learned the hard way, as Chow retold a story he heard from Matt Leinart.

“We were playing Notre Dame and the weak-side linebacker said, ‘I got 5, I got 5,'” Chow said. “Matt Leinart said, ‘Bull (expletive) you got 5.’ He checked off a play for Reggie and he goes 70 yards for a touchdown.”

JIM MCMAHON

JIM MCMAHON: Chow was the receivers coach at the time at BYU, but recruited McMahon, who sometimes served as another offensive coordinator.

As the staff would prepare the game plans each week, McMahon would come into the office after watching tape and suggest plays.

“Coach bought in, I bought in,” Chow said. “When he went to the Bears, he did the same thing and (coach Mike) Ditka got pissed at him.”

Chow pointed out that much of what McMahon called worked.

During his time at BYU, McMahon was generally quiet. After games, he would leave Provo for his home in Roy, about 40 miles away.

So when McMahon became the “punky QB” with the Bears, it was counter to how Chow knew him.

“I remember when he came into town for a game,” Chow said. “I asked him, ‘Jim, why do you act so crazy?’ He said, ‘Coach, the crazier I act, the more money I make.'”

STEVE YOUNG

STEVE YOUNG: While Young had a great career at BYU, where he was runner-up for the Heisman Trophy and broke 13 NCAA records, he wasn’t the kind of quarterback he would become with the San Francisco 49ers.

“When he was recruited to BYU, it was strictly as an athlete,” Chow said. “I wish we could take more credit for him.”

Chow said Young benefitted from a sure-handed tight end, Gordon Hudson, a former basketball player with a knack for getting open.

“I remember we used to tell him, ‘This is your first read. Look for Gordon, that was No. 2. No. 3, run,'” Chow said laughing. “That’s what we told him and he had a tremendous career because of that. We laughed about that all the time.”

Chow said Young became a great quarterback in the pros due to his time in the USFL and then being the backup to Joe Montana. When Young took over the 49ers, he was the NFL MVP in 1992 and 94, and the Super Bowl MVP after throwing six touchdown passes to beat the San Diego Chargers in 1995.

“He was a very gifted athlete who was as bright as the day is long,” Chow said.

PHILIP RIVERS

PHILIP RIVERS: Chow only had one season with the future San Diego Chargers star, his freshman season at North Carolina State.

Rivers graduated high school early, so Chow got to work with him during spring football to better prepare him for his freshman season. Chow joked that he needed that time to get used to Rivers’ Southern drawl.

“I told him, ‘You know Philip, I don’t understand a word your saying, and you don’t understand pidgin. We’re going to get along fine,'” Chow joked. “He was 6-foot-4 with an odd throwing motion, but bright, bright, bright.

“He makes things happen. Even as a first-year player, he was in charge. You knew he was in charge.”

Chow would leave for the USC offensive coordinator job, but said that one season was really enjoyable.

“I’ve said this many times, that was the funnest year I’ve had in coaching, coaching Philip Rivers,” Chow said. “He just made the game fun.”

VINCE YOUNG

VINCE YOUNG: While the Tennessee Titans had success with Vince Young early in his career, Chow said he saw the former Texas Longhorns star struggling with his transition.

“He just wasn’t ready for all the stuff that came with being an NFL quarterback,” Chow said. “He got by on his athleticism, and that was eventually going to get him into trouble because when you get to that level, everyone is as athletic as you are.”

Kerry Collins was the backup quarterback, and Chow said he had hoped Young would follow his lead, in terms of putting in the work needed.

Chow said on Tuesdays, players were off while the coaches were putting together the game plan for the week.

“Kerry Collins had a fax machine at home,” Chow said. “At 5 or 6 p.m., he starts calling me. ‘Coach, send me what you got, send me what you got.’ Wednesday morning was the installation of the offense and Kerry wanted to know what was going on.

“I encouraged (Young) a lot to come into the office on Tuesdays, but he wasn’t ready for that real serious studying.”

But Chow said he could tell that Young had other issues that were weighing in on him. When Young came to the facility, he would have his head down.

“I said, ‘Vince, with all these people after you, what you should do it go to your loved ones. They care about you,'” Chow said. “He looked at me, ‘Coach, those were the worst ones.’

“It wore on him.”

Despite all the issues, Young was the NFL offensive rookie of the year and a Pro Bowler in 2006, and the Titans reached the playoffs the next season.

ROBBIE BOSCO

ROBBIE BOSCO: He was the right quarterback at the right time for BYU and Chow, as he helped lead the Cougars to the 1984 national title.

“Robbie Bosco is a little different guy. He was a tough guy, but he was also thin,” Chow said. “What made Robbie was there was a lot of players around him that made him look good.”

While Bosco didn’t have the kind of arm of some of the other Hall of Famers, his career was no less impressive as he finished third in Heisman Trophy voting in 1984 and 85.

MATT CASSEL

matt-cassel-2

Matt Cassel attempts a pass against Arizona State/ photo courtesy of USC Athletics

MATT CASSEL: While at USC, fans didn’t see much of Matt Cassel, as he was backup to both Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart.

It was a frustrating time for Cassel, who thought he would be the heir apparent after Palmer left.

“He wanted a chance and he deserved a chance,” Chow said. “But with Leinart playing the way he did, it was hard. There was only one ball.”

Chow said he respected that Cassel never transferred and even played tight end to help the team. He also knew he was very capable quarterback for the next level.

When Chow left for the Tennessee Titans, he made arrangements to sign Cassel as a free agent.

“All of the sudden, in the seventh round, someone comes down to the office and said, ‘someone already took your boy,'” Chow said. “The Patriots had gone out to the Pro Day. The receivers needed someone to throw to them and Matt volunteered. He made such an impression that the Patriots took him in the last round.

“That’s who Matt Cassel was. He was good enough, but he got caught in a tough situation.”

In 2008, Cassel stepped in as the starter for the Patriots after Tom Brady suffered a season-ending knee injury and led the team to an 11-5 record.

MARC WILSON

MARC WILSON: In 1979, Wilson was a first-time All American, the first for BYU. By the next year, he was the backup to Jim McMahon.

“He had a kind of checkered little career because of McMahon,” said Chow, who was the receivers coach at the time. “I don’t think he was really pleased with the way BYU handled him. They didn’t handle him wrong because McMahon was there. I think later in life, he realized what was happening.

“We still stay in touch, and we’ve done so for a while.”

Wilson had a good run in the NFL, as he was part of the Raiders’ Super Bowl championship teams in 1980 and 84.

Wilson was also inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame after breaking nine NCAA passing records.

 

 

 

Tom Flores intrigued by Las Vegas but says Raiders belong in Oakland

By Leighton Ginn

As intriguing as having the Raiders play in Las Vegas could be, former coach Tom Flores said it’s not what he really wants to see.

But Flores said it looks inevitable that the Raiders will be moving to Sin City unless something dramatic happens.

“It’s becoming more and more of a possibility,” Flores said. “I think it’s kind of exciting when you think about it, with all the possibilities there. It would be like a Super Bowl Sunday every home game with all the hotels and the people who come there.

“But the Raiders belong in Oakland. I’ve always said that, I’ll always say that forever because that’s where we started.”

Flores needs to be in the Hall of Fame

Flores was coaching the Raiders the last time they moved out of Oakland. As a result, Flores became the only coach to win a Super Bowl title in Southern California when the Raiders claimed the 1984 title, adding to his 1981 ring while in Oakland.

A lot has changed in the NFL, and having a good stadium is paramount. With the revenue sharing, franchise earn its own money through luxury boxes and parking. The Raiders have none of those in the O.co Coliseum.

Unless something dramatic happens, it appears the Raiders will leave Oakland again after the 2016 season.

“There’s very little movement, if at all. If there is, it’s not known. It’s hidden very well,” Flores said. “You need to get a new stadium in Oakland because the stadium is falling apart, literally. It’s literally falling apart.  It’s not up to standards of the NFL and it’s kind of sad to see. It’s pretty sad to see.”

There had been talk about the Raiders moving to Levi Stadium, which is the home of the San Francisco 49ers, but Flores said he thinks that’s too far away for the Oakland fans.

The Raiders were also discussed to move into the new stadium that’s being built, and has already attracted the Rams from St. Louis.

The San Diego Chargers have the option to move to Los Angeles, and if they turn it down, then the Raiders could be the second tenant.

As successful as the Raiders were in Los Angeles, Flores said that deal will pale in comparison to going to Las Vegas.

“I think every team would like to have its own stadium and control of its own stadium,” Flores said. “I’m sure that’s what the Raiders are looking for in Vegas. But (owner) Mark Davis made it very clear, they would like to stay in Oakland, but they can’t. The league knows it, the rest of the ownership in the NFL, they realize it now. I don’t think there would be much opposition if they do decide to move.

“We were very popular in LA, we won a Super Bowl there. And we’re still very popular there. But I don’t know. I’m not that involved, although I am involved emotionally.”