Ocean’s 51: Tom Brady and the Super Bowl Jersey Heist

Written by :
Published on : February 10, 2017

 

 

The first reports after the big game were that superstar quarterback, Tom Brady, was missing the jersey he wore during his record setting fifth Super Bowl win. The story goes that after the Patriots’ insane comeback overtime win, Tom went to the locker room with the team. The guys changed out of their uniforms and donned their new champs t-shirts then returned to the field for the trophy ceremony. Brady claims that he left the prized jersey in his bag, at his locker. Later, Tom came back and could not find his number 12 uni.

 

Now, there are no security cameras in the locker rooms and the list of people with access to that area is decently long. Including, all 52 members of the roster, all the coaches, trainers and equipment personnel. Plus all the reporters and security once the locker room is open to the media. So we have lots of potential suspects.

 

 

Host city Houston stepped up and called in the Texas Rangers (not Chuck Norris, idiots) to help track down the jersey. Which some are already calling the greatest piece of sports memorabilia ever. With a theoretical price tag anywhere from $100,000-$500,000. But it’s not like you can just sell that thing anywhere. Brady joked in a Monday presser that if anyone sees it on eBay, let him know. That’s funny but not realistic. A sale like that will almost certainly land the seller in prison. That makes me think the thief had to have a high level buyer already in place. Hell, maybe they were even commissioned to steal the thing.

 

As the stolen jersey story spread, more news filtered in. Another report claims that much of the locker room gear was packed up and put on a truck bound for the Pats home facility. The truck was not throughly searched before it left the stadium leaving hope that the jersey is maybe in a box somewhere. Seems unlikely the most rare of rare sports gems is just laying around. Especially when you consider that something like this happened after New England’s Super Bowl win over Seattle two years ago. Yup, Brady’s jersey went “missing” then too. Looks like someone is starting a collection and I think I know the crew that might have pulled off the sports heist of the century.

 

"Ocean's Eleven" Cast Bernie Mac,Casey Affleck,Li Dian Feng,Scott Caan,George Clooney,Brad Pitt,Matt Damon,Elliott Gould,Don Cheadle,Edward Jemison,Carl Reiner © 2001 Warner Bros. Photo by Sid Avery

 

That’s right, it was probably Billy, I mean Danny Ocean and his 10 best friends. They are one of the only teams that could pull something like this off. The time from when Brady took off the jersey to the moment it was found stolen was approximately 12 minutes. So you would need the coordinated efforts of a legit outfit to get away with this crime. And if they can break into Terry Benedict’s Las Vegas casino vault then they for sure can get into a fancy men’s room in Texas. But a good scam leaves no trail so maybe the jersey on truck is a fake so people stop looking for the real McCoy. Damn, so clever.

 

The only other scenario that seems likely is that Lady Gaga did it. Did you see her halftime show? She apparently can do anything. Plus we know she is a master of disguise so she probably dressed up as Rob Gronkowski, strolled into the locker room and scooped the jersey before she flew away on sparkle pony.

 

 

The only question remaining is, who is the buyer? That would be Vladimir Putin. He already has one of Patriots owner, Robert Kraft’s Super Bowl rings, why not complete the outfit. Story goes that back in 2005, Kraft was meeting Putin and he let him try on the ring and Putin never gave it back. The White House urged Kraft to let Putin keep the ring as a gift for the sake of foreign relations. So maybe stole is a harsh word, bullied is more appropriate. Either way, Putin has a ring and now maybe two of Tom’s Super Bowl jerseys. I think someone is playing a little fantasy touch football in the Winter Palace.

 

Keep an eye out for clues as the story develops. The truth is still maybe stranger than any of this. I sure hope so because it’s already a great piece of drama. Who knows? Maybe Tom will win a 6th Super Bowl, I bet he doesn’t take his jersey off then.

 

Clooney.

 

 


Monkey Rides Dog at Bengals Game

Written by :
Published on : September 27, 2016

 

Last year, halftime of Cincinnati Bengals games were wild. The sideline entertainment is much different than what you are used to. This isn’t your grandpa’s pep rally. No human pyramids or spirit chants. Instead, there is a monkey dressed as a cowboy. Riding a dog like it’s a horse. I’ll let that sink in for a minute. And yes, the monkey has a little hat on. The lead monkey, Whiplash, leads a monkey team, all mounted on dogs, as they heard sheep off the field. They bounce around and look like tiny, hairy wranglers. This is the new trend sweeping the NFL. Giddyup.

 

First, let’s just say that this is plain bonkers. Whose idea was this? Who first approved it? What was that meeting like? I almost don’t know what to think about it. You can see some video HERE. Initially, I felt bad for the animal performers but both the monkeys and the dogs look like they are having a great time. And the Bengals had to vet this act right? They certainly promoted it. This is from their twitter account:

 


Plus they strap a GoPro camera on the saddle. It’s about time that we start thinking outside-the-box for our mid game entertainment. Who knew the answer was something pulled from the Roman Coliseum. You can almost hear the Emperor demand “make that beast ride that other beast!”

 

Once I made that Emperor joke, I realized that there is no way the monkey wants to ride that dog. No way. Then I did a little more research and found some arguments claiming that this a cruel practice. Where does that leave us? I really want to like the Whiplash show. I wrote an entire praise article until I dug a little deeper and found more than a few places bashing this spectacle as animal abuse. That’s a hard bell to unring.

 

The border collie isn’t really designed to shoulder a hold. Plus, the capuchin monkey (like the one Ross had on Friends) is locked into the saddle and is tossed back and forth as the dog runs around. This bouncing motion could really injure the little dude. The city of Cincinnati has some strange obsession with hurting monkeys and gorillas. #Harambe #NeverForget

 

Monkeys-riding-dogs-herding-goats

 

The act is technically legal but I feel bad for anything strapped to another thing all in the name of a cheap laugh. I want to applaud the comic idea that is trying to be achieved but this needs to stop now. Circus type shows often mean terrible lives for the animals. No animal deserves that. Bring back the nearly unpaid cheerleaders, at least they volunteer for the job. Also, one team should step up and pay the cheerleaders real money. And all things being equal, let some dudes on the cheer squad.

 

In the NFL, we see players sacrifice their bodies in the name of football. They are compensated for those risks with competitive salaries. But these animal performers have no choice. Let’s retire all these barbaric gimmicks. And if Whiplash the monkey needs a home, my door is always open.

 

Bananas.

 

 


Inside Super Bowl 50

Written by :
Published on : February 14, 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 

Sunday, February 7th 2016
11:37 am

Today, the NFL’s 50th Super Bowl will feature the Denver Broncos taking on the Carolina Panthers at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California. And I’m on my way there.

 

 

12:45pm lobby call

Police escorts ride on motorcycles between cars, shutting off the flow of traffic so that we can get to the stadium in good time. We’ve been rehearsing on the field all week but security is super tight. Our badges can be held up to a scanner that lets you on to the field and other secured areas. Walking in past the first security checkpoint presents a crazy landscape of people: Paparazzi with huge cameras, Military personnel with AK-47s and ticketless fans with lawn chairs for the sidewalk.

 

Heading back towards my dressing room, the scenery settles. So much so that right outside the Queen’s dressing room, Jay-Z sits on a cement picnic table bobbing his head to the Fugees… “One time… Two times..”

 

I’m doing the Super Bowl. Again.

 

 

1:30pm

I am currently standing on the field. Seats are pretty empty, we’re still two hours ahead of kick off. I call my mom. “Turn on CBS. Can you see me? I can see their studio but it’s pretty far from me.”

 

This is my second Pepsi halftime show and is already a lot different. For one thing, it’s 75 and sunny. Far from the brisk 50 degrees we were thankful to get two years ago (earlier that week, New Jersey was only offering 12 degrees to rehearse in.) I’ve got my backpack, with a football and a sharpie at all times. Never know who you’re gonna run into. It’s a good thing I bought my ball days ago, this line at the NFL shop is crazy and they are out of footballs. We have an NFL escort that gets us in and out quick, much to the disdain of a Panthers fan.

 

It’s 2:01, kick off is 3:30 and I’m trying to get a few things done: football signed, see some of the game without a ticket and get some better pictures of the field. Gaga’s coming down the hall. I smile, she smiles. Saw someone I knew walking to the field to watch Lady Gaga sing – perfect. Jumped on the bandwagon and with the help of an escort, now I’m back on the field. There’s Olivia Munn, which means that… Yep, Aaron Rodgers right behind her.

 

They’re announcing MVPs from every Super Bowl. Of course everyone loves Joe Montana here. Brady walks out and the whole stadium boos. It’s 3:15.  There goes Jerry Rice.

 

The teams come running out. Panthers first then Broncos. Didn’t dawn on me that I’m on the sideline, now right behind the Panthers bench. Behind me is James Harden and Trevor Ariza, in seats.
The crowd seems to be mostly orange with splotches of neon blue. They are chanting something intelligible but stop for a great arrangement of “America the Beautiful.”

 


 

Oh right, Gaga. She’s great, and the navy flies right over my head. As soon as that’s over, the sideline starts to scurry. I know I’m about to get kicked out. Rather than get kicked out of the stadium, I decide to quit while I’m ahead. Get to the tunnel and find a pocket to hide in, long enough to see the kickoff of Super Bowl 50. Security says I can’t stand there, so I watch the first Broncos play walking backward. Scan out.

 

I head back out of the stadium to my dressing room tent, cops are on watch and listening to the game on radios. I can hear cheering, something good must be happening. 3:45, or an hour ’til showtime.

 

I shuffle through Beyonce’s dance army as they rehearse and into our dressing room. I watch the game on a TV while getting dressed for the show: Versace leather shirt. Versace leather pants. Versace chains. Versace sunglasses. Tall black socks. Nike shoes. Broncos up 3-0, that must’ve been what I heard when I was walking. I had cut it close standing on the field and now I’m dressed just in time to head into stadium. Gotta be close to the end of the first quarter.

 

Miles and me.
Miles and me.

 

Walking through these halls in all leather commands a little bit of attention. In the stadium dressing room now, monitor engineer Ramone puts my “ears” on me (molded in ear headphones) and my head set mic. Add that to this black leather and I’m feeling pretty ’90s right about now. There’s a tv in the hallway. 10-0, Broncos. 4:48 in the first. Miles the Bronco and I snap a quick pic. Beyoncé rides up on a chariot golf cart to applause from her dancers. Now, we wait. Game’s on, stand around, practice dance moves. The hallway smells. I check my watch. It’s 4:20.

 

My main view of the game.
My main view of the game.

 

4:35pm

Everybody comes out for a group prayer.

Wait more.

Wait more. Time is slowing down.

 

4:42pm

No nerves in the tunnel.  10 minutes to showtime.
No nerves in the tunnel. 10 minutes to showtime.

 

Walk to the tunnel.

Wait in the tunnel. So much waiting.

 

Halftime

This is the third time out on the field. Stage has been pushed together. We keep getting shuffled around because crowd is coming in and ground dancers are getting set. At this event, even the audience on the ground is cast, and everyone stands in the same spot every time.  Which means I’ve been smiling at the same strangers in the same spot everyday at rehearsal.  Coldplay and kids kick off the show and I have about 7 minutes to stand and take in the half time show. Pyro. Screaming. All I can do is look up at the stage, out to the 70,000 (?) people and in all directions to try and take in as much of this as I can. It’s a careful balance because I don’t want the only thought I remember to be “remember this moment.” I hand my cell phone to Andy (my friend and guitar tech) who offers to take pictures while we’re on stage.

 

IMG_4521

 

IMG_4554

 

Coldplay’s halfway through their 3rd song. Time to get set. I walk up onto the stage and it’s time for the muscle memory to take over. Just about anyone I can think of is more than likely looking at a TV screen right now. Mark Ronson scratches us in. This feels slow, that’s how you know your adrenaline is high. The rest of the performance is a flash and it’s over before you know it.

 

Doing these kind of events is like your birthday – you hear from everyone. Facebook is booming, Instagram is jamming, texts keep coming and Hi-Fives are flying. “How was it? Has anyone found a video yet?”

 

The hard work is over and seems to have paid off. Let’s check back into the checklist:

Get on the field for a little of the game – Check.

Get signatures from everyone we played with. Right… Sharpie in my pocket, everybody’s in the dressing room and I’m good to go. Two years ago when we did this the first time, I had the idea to buy a football and ask everyone I performed with to sign it. This year is the same, but lots of signatures to get. Managed to get just about everyone. Cool. This will go along with the football from 2014 and guitars from both performances in a home memorabilia installation from the heavens.

 

Not my football, but one I had access to in the meantime.
Not my football, but one I had access to in the meantime.

 

I head back to the hotel. My fiancé and I catch up on all of these stories and we head out to an after party. I got to meet and work with so many great people over the last few weeks and it is great to finally be able to just hang out and talk or share a drink. Hope everyone enjoyed the game and performances, this is another year I’ve had to watch them through replay and with good reason. Scan out.

 

 


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