Out of print for more than 30 years, now available for the first time as an eBook, this is the controversial story of John Wooden's first 25 years and first 8 NCAA Championships as UCLA Head Basketball Coach. This is the only book that gives a true picture of the character of John Wooden and the influence of his assistant, Jerry Norman, whose contributions Wooden  ignored and tried to bury.

Compiled with more than 40 hours of interviews with Coach Wooden, learn about the man behind the coach. The players tell their their stories in their own words.

Click the book to read the first chapter and for ordering information. Also available on Kindle.

2014 Super Bowl

by Tony Medley

What disappointments in the Conference Championship games! Four of the best quarterbacks in the NFL and three of them stunk the place out. Only Peyton Manning stepped up and performed. Tom Brady was the worst. Under no pressure from Denver’s defensive line, he overthrew at least two wide open receivers losing two touchdowns. If he makes those passes, it’s a completely different game because they only lost by six points as it was.

As expected, Jim Harbaugh’s offense was stifling and ineffective due to questionable play calling. Although Anquon Boldin dropped two passes right in his breadbasket, there were only a few passes thrown to Michael Crabtree and very few thrown downfield against Seattle’s admittedly excellent pass defense.

The offense seemed as confused as it was last week. On a crucial third and one in the second half they couldn’t get the snap off within 40 seconds, converting it to a 3rd and six and they had to give up the ball when they couldn’t make the six yards. There’s a huge difference between 3rd & 1 and 3rd & 6. When they were driving for the winning touchdown, they had a third down with 2:40 left on the clock. Time was clearly crucial, yet it took them 38 seconds to get off the play. This is a major league 2 minute drill?  Then when they did get the play off Crabtree caught a pass for a 17 yard gain on the sideline. Instead of stepping out of bounds to stop the clock, he turned inside for two more yards to be tackled inbounds.

This is sheer stupidity. And these guys get paid millions of dollars a year to be this stupid. On one play in the first half Kaepernick and Gore didn’t even know which side the runner was supposed to run and the play was botched. They were just lucky they didn’t lose the ball in the resulting fumble. This bumbling offense has been going on too long to ignore. It’s the coach’s fault.

But the dumbest play of the year was Kaepernick’s fade pass attempt to Crabtree (accurate though it may have been). There was still a little less than a minute left in the game and the 49ers were moving, inside the 20 with 2 timeouts left. So what play do they call? After avoiding all-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman the entire game, they pin their Super Bowl hopes by throwing a fade to Crabtree,  the guy Sherman is covering and the game is over as Sherman makes a spectacular play that results in an interception. Exacerbating all that is the coach’s childish petulant behavior on the sidelines. All in all, I’m glad Seattle won, even though Pete Carroll is their coach.

As to Denver-New England, the key play of the game occurred in the second quarter when Wes Welker destroyed Patriots’ cornerback Aqib Talib knee on an illegal pick. Talib had shut down Demaryius Thomas but after he left the game Peyton Manning targeted Thomas repeatedly for long gains, building a big 20-3 lead. But had Brady been the quarterback of his reputation and connected with those wide receivers, it’s a completely different game.

The fact that the Super Bowl is being played in New York in frigid weather is truly ludicrous (although it appears the NFL has caught a break with relatively mild weather). The whole idea of having the Super Bowl at a neutral site was to play it in fair weather stadia or domed stadia. Now here is a dream matchup (according to some people) of the best offense vs. the best defense and this risk of playing it in terrible, freezing weather is poor thinking.

It amazes me that Denver is favored. The two best teams in the NFL are San Francisco and Seattle. Even the second rate NFC teams are as good or better than Denver. Denver has a horrible defense, although it’s offensive line might exceed mediocrity to some extent. Seattle, on the other hand, is superb against both the pass, with a defensive secondary that rates near the top all time, and the run. Offensively, they have probably the best runner in the league in Marshawn Lynch, and fine, unknown receivers who had the fewest drops in the NFL. Their top deep threat, Percy Harvin, will play, which should help quarterback Russell Wilson who has been pretty bad the last four games, throwing inaccurate short passes. Lynch is virtually unstoppable. He is what could allow Wilson to have a better game as Denver will always have to defend against the run which makes its horrible pass defense even worse.

Denver has two chances. The first is if Manning has a super-human game, which is possible, and they win in a high-scoring game. Manning’s big strength, in addition to his accuracy, is that he sees the entire field and can pick out open receivers faster than any quarterback who ever played the game. That enables him to get rid of the ball fast, so he’s not that burdened by a less than stellar offensive line to protect him. Seattle’s outstanding defensive linebackers and secondary will test Manning more than he’s ever been tested to date. The second is if the officials start calling lots of penalties against Seattle’s  pass defenders, who play rough. If the officials let them play, it shouldn’t be close. But if the officials start dropping flags calling holding and pass interference against Seattle, Manning could have a field day. But Seattle has a much more talented team and should win and it shouldn’t be that close.

February 2, 2014