(Anthony Munoz Photo courtesy of Cincinnati Bengals)
(Charlotte Jones-Anderson photo courtesy of Dallas Cowboys)
Talk of Fame Network
This week our Hall of Fame guys, Rick Gosselin, Ron Borges and Clark Judge, spend time with one of the greatest tackles in pro football history as well as one of the highest-ranking female club officials in the NFL as they continue their series honoring Hispanic Heritage Month and Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Anthony Munoz made 11 straight Pro Bowl appearances during a 13-year career that culminated in being named to the NFL’s 75th Anniversary team and election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Yet had things gone differently, Munoz said on this week’s Talk of Fame Network broadcast, he might have become the biggest pitcher in baseball’s Hall.
“Baseball was my first love,’’ said Munoz, who pitched on USC’s national championship baseball team as a sophomore before turning his attention to a game that would twice take him to the Super Bowl.
Although he would become one of the NFL’s greatest players, Munoz grew up playing baseball in South Central L.A. at a time when there were few Hispanic role models in football. For many,he became the first.
“I came from a culture where it was not the norm to be a football player,’’ Munoz recalled. “It was a big deal when I was drafted. I totally understood that.’’
He also understands what this year’s Bengals are facing. Despite entering the weekend as one of five undefeated NFL teams, skeptics abound because of Cincinnati’s 0-4 playoff record with Andy Dalton at quarterback. Munoz believes both the Bengals and Dalton are different this year. Yet he knows what they’re facing after having lost two close Super Bowl games to Joe Montana’s 49ers himself.
“I see the highlights every Super Bowl,’’ Munoz said of Montana’s last-second touchdown pass that beat his Bengals in Super Bowl XXIII. “I always hope John Taylor drops the pass. He always catches it.
“When I strapped it on (past history) was the furthest thing from my mind. You’re seeing some different things this year from Andy. This team has not only the physical makeup but the mental makeup (to be successful). I’m the first to admit Joe Montana didn’t beat Ken Anderson and Andy Dalton didn’t lose to Philip Rivers.’’
In Dallas, Charlotte Jones-Anderson, daughter of Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones, serves as executive vice-president and chief branding officer of the most valuable sports franchise in the world. A graduate of Stanford, she’s been working for the Cowboys since 1989 and played a major role in the design of AT&T Stadium and now is working on the design of the franchise’s new headquarters.
Three years ago, she was also named chairperson of the NFL Foundation and last year was appointed to the league’s first conduct committee. Less than a year later she played a central role in the Cowboys’ decision to acquire defensive end Greg Hardy despite his suspension for domestic violence.
“Actually, I was involved in that,’’ Jones-Anderson said of the Hardy decision. “He was probably the most researched player I can recall in my time here. We believe it’s a privilege … not a right …to play in the NFL. We all agree on that.’’
She looks at her job the same way but admits that being the daughter of one of the highest profile and most watched owners in the NFL has its less-than-privileged moments.
“As you can imagine, Jerry casts quite a large shadow,’’ she said. “I never dreamed I’d be in the family business, which was oil and gas. Then he bought the Cowboys and asked me to come home and help him stop this leaky machine and turn it around. At the time, the Cowboys were losing $75,000 a day. When I asked what he wanted me to do he said, ‘Find a way to stop losing money and don’t tarnish the Star.’ ’’
Certainly she has more than done the former and never the latter, rising to a prominence in the league — as well as within the Cowboys — that makes her one of the most powerful female figures in the game.
Our Three Amigos debate the weekend’s toughest match-up, between the undefeated Patriots and once-beaten Jets, rank where the Colts’ “swinging gate’’ fake punt ranks on the lists of bone-head play calls (way down, frankly) and debate why, as Rick Gosselin, argues, the Ravens, Seahawks and Lions were doomed from the start by NFL schedule-makers who sent them on the road the first two weeks of the season.
Gosselin also states his case for Everson Walls as a Hall-of-Fame candidate. Walls has been long overlooked despite the fact only five pure cornerbacks have more interceptions than his 57 and he is the only corner in NFL history to lead the league in interceptions three times.
With October 26 the 134th anniversary of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, our guys each recall their favorite NFL shootouts and, in honor of the founding of the U.N., name their favorite-foreign born players. Who knew Bronko Nagurski hailed from Rainy River, Ontario and Ted Hendricks was born in Guatamala City, Guatamala?
Ron’s “Borges or Bogus’’ segment delves into Redskin coach Jay Gruden’s continued insistence that Kirk Cousins, he of the 4-11 career record as a starting quarterback, gives his team the best chance to win, and Ron and Clark spar in rapid-fire fashion as Rick fires his questions of the week in the two-minute drill.
That and more, including an interview with ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss about his new book on Patriots’ legend Troy Brown, is available on over 80 radio stations around the country, on the TuneIn app, iTunes podcast or by going to talkoffamenetwork.com to listen on your computer.