by Amy Lignor
Come on…we gridiron lovers do share a little something with the die-hard hockey fans out there – we like to see fights. It’s even more fun when the fights are between siblings playing on opposite sides of the field.
The Manning’s are one family that’s fun to watch. Peyton is King of all he surveys apparently, yet most people still don’t realize that the New York Giants are NOT out of the mix and Eli literally does his best work when he’s the absolute underdog who experts say doesn’t have a chance to win. But yesterday, we were given a glimpse at another happy family – the Long brothers.
Howie Long is a man everyone knows and loves. He is admired because of his Hall of Fame football career, as well as his banter in the movies. He has been with us a good, long time every weekend, and is regarded as one of the best studio analysts in the ‘biz’ being a well-known part of the popular Fox ‘team’.
Long was a hero on the field in his day. Wearing #75, Howie played thirteen seasons in all for the Oakland Raiders, and made them a better team each and every year. He had size, strength and agility; he could move fast and was fierce which made him excel on the Raiders defense.
Howie’s accolades are long indeed, including eight Pro Bowl selections; named First-team All-Pro three times and Second-team All-Pro twice. He earned the NFL Alumni Defensive Lineman of the Year and the NFLPA AFC Defensive Lineman of the Year awards, the same year he earned the George S. Halas trophy, in 1985.
And most of all…Howie and the Oakland Raiders won Super Bowl XVIII (1983 season), where he used his signature move ‘the rip’, to outplay the Redskins poor offensive tackle.
So why are speaking abut Howie? Well…because with all his awards and records he also, apparently, has extremely good DNA when it comes to creating players for the NFL.
Yesterday the Rams and the Bears met in a match-up that was both entertaining and interesting, even though St. Louis basically soared past the Bears with not too much trouble along the way. What was a Kodak moment, however, was when Rams end, Chris Long, ran onto the field towards a fight that involved Bears players and one of his teammates. One of the Bears in the middle of the ruckus was his very own brother, guard Kyle Long. Let the sibling fun begin!
This was the first time the Long boys have ever met on the gridiron. And if the little tiff is any indication, they hopefully will meet up again and again. But when you really look at it, Chris actually ran off the sideline to shove his brother out of the way during the scuffle on the field – but not to do battle.
It seems as if it was nothing more than big bro helping out little bro. Chris was smart, to say the least. Brother Kyle was definitely not going down the happy path; he’d been flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct because of a kick, and Chris seemed to intervene just at the right time before the fight escalated too far.
Howie Long was at the game; he got some downtime from Fox in order to be present when his two sons faced off for the first time. Although they say there was no reaction from Howie during the game, I have a feeling he was secretly saying to himself: “Atta boy, boys!” If it was a tiff, Howie would understand. After all, he was a member of the Oakland Raiders, people – one of the (some say) meanest teams that ever played in the NFL back in the 1980s. And even though there are a ton of rules, regulations and yapping right now in football that will soon have the game become flag football if we’re not careful, Howie was probably very proud of his adrenaline-charged boys.
And if it wasn’t a tiff – if it was Chris taking care of Kyle before the situation blew up, Howie was probably proud as all get out that the NFL comes second behind the brotherly love.
I don’t know about you, but I wish I could be at the Long’s Thanksgiving table on Thursday, because I bet they’re going to have a good laugh about their new sibling rivalry.
Until Next Time, Everybody,