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.

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Sports Medley: Defense? We Donít Need No Stinkiní Defense! 5 Feb 18

by Tony Medley

In a game that saw more than 1000 yards gained by both teams, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick signaled before the opening kickoff how little value he gave to his teamís defense by benching probably his best defensive back, Malcolm Butler. You remember Malcolm Butler, of course. He was a rookie defensive back who won the Super Bowl for New England three years ago by making an improbable interception on the stupidest play call in the history of professional football, a pass called by Seattle coach Pete Carroll when Seattle had a first and goal on the 1 yard line with less than a minute left to play.

With typical Belichick nonspeak, Coach Bill explained, ďwe did what we felt was best for the team.Ē

Even so, Philadelphia had to recover from several momentum changing gaffes to prevail.

Gaffe #1: Quarterback Nick Foles took the opening kickoff and drove his team down to a second and goal on New Englandís 3 yard line. It was at this point that star tight end Zach Ertz was called for illegal motion. Philly couldnít convert so was limited to a field goal.

Gaffe  #2: After New England drove down and tied the score with its own field-goal, Foles threw a perfect touchdown pass to Alshon Jeffrey. But Philly then missed the conversion.

So after playing a brilliant first quarter, Philly was only up by six points and it looked as if New England had momentum.

But these gaffes soon proved to be illusory as neither team played defense. Actually New England put a lot more pressure on Foles than Philly put on Patriotsí quarterback Tom Brady. This resulted in Brady throwing for a Super Bowl record of more than 500 yards as Philly simply had no pass defense; Patriots receivers were often wide open with no defenders in sight.

While New Englandís defensive secondary was equally inept, the Patriotsí four-man rush often pressured Foles; certainly a lot more than Phillyís four-man rush pressured Brady. There was only one sack in the entire game. Even so, Foles, eschewing the pressure, threw several pinpoint long passes.

Whatís a Catch? This is a question that has been bugging the league for years and there was certainly no definitive solution by the officials in this game.

Catch #1: In the third quarter Foles threw a 22 yard touchdown pass to Cory Clement. Clement caught the ball at the back of the end zone but the ball moved just as his foot hit the end line going out of bounds. During the regular season this would have been called an incomplete pass 100% of the time. But after a review the officials upheld it. This raises the question of propriety of ignoring a rule just because itís the Super Bowl.

Catch #2: with 2:21 left in the game and trailing by one point Foles threw an 11 yard pass to Ertz who caught it with both hands on the 5 yard line, took three steps and dove into the end zone holding the ball out in front of him with two hands. When the ball hit the ground in the end zone it popped up in the air and Ertz caught it. While this went into replay because it was a scoring play, the two TV announcers, Chris Collinsworth and Al Michaels, both indicated that they thought it was going to be ruled an incomplete pass. That was absurd. Ertz caught the ball and took three steps before he dove into the end zone. He was clearly a runner stretching the ball over the goal line; it wasnít even close. And thatís the way it was upheld.

But there is no doubt that under present NFL rules and the way they have been interpreted all year long, the touchdown by Clement should have been disallowed. It does raise the troubling question of the propriety of changing the interpretation of a rule just because itís the Super Bowl.

Combined with the trade two months ago of blossoming star quarterback Jimmy Garapollo, apparently a trade ordered by owner Robert Kraft in response to a Brady request and over Belichickís strenuous objections, the benching and probable departure of their star defensive back, who becomes an unrestricted free agent, along with rumored retirements of people like tight end Rob Gronkowski, make the Patriotsí future less than rosy.

There is also apparently a rumor floating around that Brady might retire. If he did lobby for the trade of Garapollo because Jimmy was a threat to Bradyís starting quarterback position, it would be the ultimate offense to his team and his fans if, having gotten rid of his competition, he were to hang up his cleats, leaving the Patriots high and dry without a replacement quarterback.

Hereís a thought. If Brady and Belichick were on opposite sides of the Garapollo departure and Belichick obviously lost that one, maybe Bill will retire.