Early on, the family joke was I learned how to read so I could read the sports page. Sports was, and still is, my top interest, but as life has developed my interests have expanded to writing about entertainment, politics, stock market, and of course parenting, being a dad of three amazing children. I have interviewed close to 300 college prospects before the entered the NFL – from top five picks to those that played Arena 2. I thought I would do an introspective interview to let the readers learn a little more about me.
51C: Why did you create 51 and counting?
PS: I created this site as a place to spotlight those stories that the national media glazes over or does not talk about at all. I also plan to spotlight as many players, current or past, as all of sports involve more individuals than just the select ones the media drills down to a nauseating level. This goal of this site is to be more fact-based and not adjusting the facts to fit a particular media slant or headline. I will explain more on that as we go.
51C: Let’s tackle some current hot button issues. First up is Tua. Are the Dolphins in a lot of trouble with Tua at the helm? Also how big of a mistake was passing on Justin Herbert.
PS: This season starts the true evaluation of Tua. Does anyone remember a few years ago “Tanking for Tua”. Tua is a talented, polished, media savvy player who now has the tools to compete on par with the rest of the NFL. Almost everyone agreed during the draft that Tua was the choice over Herbert. Now media wants to rewrite history. Seriously, does anyone remember how Steve Young looked in Tampa Bay? A quarterback needs weapons too.
51C: Are the Cowboys doomed losing Connor Williams, Randy Gregory, Cedrick Wilson and Amari Cooper?
PS: Funny, I keep hearing the media talking about the loss of Williams and Gregory as if they were on par with losing Larry Allen and Charles Halley. Connor was average at best and his departure is likely an improvement by subtraction because, at times, he was a penalty machine. Gregory is mentioned as if he is Reggie White, Charles Haley, and Micah Parsons rolled into one player. Instead, let’s look at some stats. This is the same Randy Gregory who missed 4 games in 2015, 14 games in 2016, all of 2017 and 2019, 14 games in 2016, two games in 2018, six games in 2020 and five games in 2021. Dallas has been replacing him most of his career while also supporting him and his off-field issues.
I will never fully understand giving Amari away for so little, but CeeDee seems ready to be the number on guy. We will see what happens. Wide receivers are coming out of college more ready for NFL stardom than ever before so Tolbert should take up the role as the number four receiver that Cedrick Wilson held down last year.
51C: The Los Angeles Lakers title they won in 2020 in the “bubble” really count.
PS: Of course it does. If the Lakers lost to Miami, the LeBron-haters would be holding that against him with 100% certainty. So I am not sure why that it is even mentioned but I think it comes from the some of the insecure media whom may be jealous of LeBron.
51C: What are your thoughts on NBA teams holding on tight to first round picks and those that trade them so freely for a player?
PS: If you can add a proven star like Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, or Donovan Mitchell to your roster, trade the picks. Funny the media acts like giving up picks is crazy and then the next NBA story is how Marvin Bagley III, Miles Bridges, Jerome Robinson, Jarrett Culver, Patrick Williams and countless other former first round picks that are either struggling, average players, or out of the league. Someone will need to help me understand a proven star is not worth the risk of giving up on a pick, or two, or three that likely will get the receiving team a role player or marginal star.
51C: Does Major League Baseball need a salary cap?
PS: Without a doubt. The past few years because of the Astros’ success, I have start passionately watching baseball again. To level the playing field and have those teams that draft well benefit from it a salary cap without question would benefit the league and fans.
51C: Does the NFL need a developmental league?
PS: A NFDL (National Football Developmental League) needs to start. Not only would it strengthen the game, with much more ready for game action players, but it would also help with executive, coaching, and referee development. With every current NFL team worth billions, a NFDL league would not only strengthen the league but would be a financial windfall with merchandise, ticket sales, and TV and streaming deals. It appears the XFL with the Rock is slowly developing into that in the coming years. Personally, I always thought any developmental league should include buying the CFL and expanding in that direction with established stadiums, current fan bases, front office, and players.
51C: What are your thoughts on ESPN and Fox Sports?
PS: Overall, I enjoy both networks and understand they have many hours to fill and ratings matter. I get all that. However sometimes, they are depressing. ESPN has a definite East Coast bias with the admiration of the Patriots, Yankees, Eagles, Knicks and an insane interest in talking about the Cowboys. I understand Dallas gets the ratings but they do not do something that warrants being featured daily.
Fox Sports is in love with West Coast teams. They mention how amazing the Rams were last year quite often but ignore that they won each playoff game (Tampa Bay, San Francisco, and Cincinnati) by three points each. Not exactly the 1985 Chicago Bears. In addition, there is the almost constant commentary by a certain afternoon host that the Rams are just simply amazing; Lincoln Riley is the second coming of Bill Walsh; Golden State Warriors are the best run basketball organization ever. Enough! Why not instead be honest. Report the facts. Look at things “big picture” instead of the narrow scope that so often happens. No wonder fans rely on podcasts, You Tube, and apps on their phones for information over biased networks.
51C: Who were some of your favorite players you interviewed in the past?
PS: So many of the players were great. I felt like we were two people just talking football. Some I have maintain friendships to this day. If I have to say, a few that stood out include Jon Alston from Stanford who played a few years in the league. Man his IQ was off the chart. Not to offend any of the other 300 players but smartest person I ever interviewed (Sio Moore was second). Marcus Spears was hilarious and it is not surprising to see the career he has developed after football. Tim Shaw was the player who I felt like could have been my neighbor. He could not have been nicer. He is always in my prayers. Fred Gibson was special, an amazing talent but so down to earth. Always appreciate those conversations we had well after the interviews. Eric Winston was great to talk to as I am a Miami Hurricanes fan. After the interview was done, we talked Hurricanes football for probably an hour or so. Two people that did not make it to the next level but were great interviews and people I am still in contact with today are Bruce Johnson from James Madison (National Title member) and Andre Fontenette from Syracuse. Both Andre and Bruce are the kind of people that took their God-given athletic ability and are paying in forward with youth sports. Two great guys that are making a difference with the next generation. I am sure I missed a whole bunch of other players and I apologize for that if anyone is mad.
51C: What is the overall goal of the website?
PS: I hope to share those stories that do not get the spotlight they deserve in the modern world. I’d like to include interviews with former, current, and future players from all sports. Many more players enter a league every draft than just the top 10 or 12 you see on most networks and I believe fans want to learn about them too.
Follow me at @Ftballdialogue