It was in the 1950s that UCLA reached its football pinnacle under the stewardship of Coach Red Sanders. I was at UCLA during part of this period. Rudy Feldman, who was co-captain of the 1953 Rose Bowl Bruins, has, for the past 14 years, hosted a luncheon honoring the players who played under Coach Sanders, who passed away suddenly in 1958. He named the group the Red Sanders Single Wingers.
This past Friday, November 10 was the most recent luncheon and 48 former players attended. One, 1958 All American Bill Leeka flew all the way from North Carolina to be in attendance.
Current Bruins Head Coach Jim Mora was once again noticeable in his absence. Mora attended a few of these luncheons at the beginning of his tenure, but he failed to show at the last two. For this one, he sent assistant coach Angus McClure to brief these former players on today’s team. Bill Leeka can fly across the country to attend and honor his former coach and teammates but Mora can’t walk five minutes from his office to do so.
Following the luncheon, those interested were given a tour of UCLA’s sparkling new football building. When advised that it cost $110 million, many of the old-timers scoffed at what they considered a frivolous waste of money. My fellow former Daily Bruin Sports Editor (and TV producer) Bob Seizer explained that the purpose of the building was to recruit players and compete with schools like Oregon that get lots of money from Nike founder Phil Knight who in 2007 donated $100 million to help support Oregon’s athletic programs. Still…
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Say it again, Sam: “They are going to turn around and hand the ball off. There is no play for third and 30.” That’s what Fox commentator Ronde Barber said during the Rams-Giants game when the Rams had 3rd and 33 on their own 48-yard line. The result was a short pass that resulted in a 52- yard touchdown.
Budding Superstar: Fox has one of the best football commentators to appear in a long time, which might be damning with faint praise. But Charles Davis, who works with play-by-play man Kevin Burkhardt, is a man to listen to. Like Hubie Brown in basketball, he sees things that others don’t see and he sees them as they are happening.
Ill-advised commercial: One of the most disgusting commercials of the year, if not the decade, is the one featuring some NFL players telling everyone how patriotic they are. What makes this so hypocritical is that it’s sponsored by the NFL Players Association, which has encouraged its players to take a knee during the playing of the National Anthem and in front of the flag.
If you don’t ask, you definitely won’t get it: Apparently NFL Commissioner Roger the Dodger Goodell is not satisfied with his $40 million annual salary. Word has come that he’s now demanding $50 million per year plus lifetime health care and the lifetime use of a personal jet, among other perks. That’s Chutzpah, but don’t bet that he won’t get it.
Tony Medley is the author of three books including “UCLA Basketball: The Real Story,” the first book written on UCLA basketball. Visit TonyMedley.com.
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