Local NFL product inspires donation to FCPRD

walking in a winter wonderland

The Workingman’s Store in Winchester made a generous donation of $2,500 to Frederick County Parks and Recreation’s PLAY Fund which is dedicated to giving every shield the opportunity to play.

The donation was inspired by Millbrook Alum and Kansas City Chiefs Safety Nazeeh Johnson’s trip to the NFL Championship Game.

Leading up to the Big Game, the store donated 13% of all sales, a nod to Johnson’s jersey number, to the PLAY Fund which ended up reaching the $2500 total.

To learn more about the PLAY Fund, click here.

To hear Ryan Rutherford’s interview with Nazeeh Johnson before the Big Game, click here.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

RIP Franco

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(Season’s) Greetings From The Booth!

Happy Holidays, everyone! It’s nice to be back in the Booth after a week of Christmas vacation, especially when that week included a power outage and a tree branch causing about $4000 to my vehicle. So much for a nice, relaxing vaycay!

I was sad to hear of the passing of the great Pittsburgh Steeler running back, Franco Harris, who died this week at age 72. His death comes just 2 days shy of the 50th anniversary of arguably the most controversial play in NFL history (and maybe the greatest). The play, known as The Immaculate Reception, is certainly the most dissected play in league history, as it has been examined frame-by-frame more often than the  Zapruder film.

That play, which involved Franco, came at the end of an AFC playoff game between the Steelers and the Oakland Raiders on December 23, 1972. The Raiders had taken a 7-6 lead on a 30-yard run by quarterback Kenny Stabler, a lead that looked safe. With just 40 seconds left and no time-outs, Pittsburgh QB Terry Bradshaw threw a desperation pass intended for John Fuqua at the Oakland 35. The ball, Fuqua, and the Raiders’ Jack Tatum all arrived at once, and in the ensuing collision, the ball took a crazy carom backwards, where it was scooped out of the air by Harris, who streaked into the end zone for the improbable TD.

In the aftermath of the play, amidst the bedlam of Three Rivers Stadium, the officials conferred to determine whether the catch was legal. In 1972, the rule was that the ball couldn’t be touched by 2 offensive players consecutively without a defensive player touching the ball in-between. After the long confab, the catch was rule legal and the touchdown stood.  The Immaculate Reception, as it has come to be known, is considered to be the catalyst for the Steeler’s dynasty, which included four Super Bowl wins in the 1970s.

I remember watching that play as it happened in my Grandma Minnie’s living room, and as I look back on the play, I’m not sure we’ll ever witness anything like it ever again. With replay, and high-definition technology, any play can be broken down to the most minute detail, all but eliminating controversy. Not to mention, the aforementioned “no touch” rule was rescinded years ago. In a way, that’s too bad. Human error in sports with regard to officiating has added to the lore of the game. It’s “part of the game,” as the saying goes. We’re still talking about The Immaculate Reception 50 years later, and had replay been allowed in 1972, maybe we wouldn’t be.

In closing, Franco Harris did so much more on and off the field beyond his most famous reception. While active, he came close to breaking Jim Brown’s then-NFL rushing record, eventually falling less than 200 yards shy of the mark. Of course, he was an integral part of the aforementioned Super Bowl titles in the 70s. And, his charity work in the Steel City is well documented.  One play does not a Hall-Of-Famer make. This weekend, his number 32 will be retired, only the third Steeler to have that distinction. But he will always be remembered for a play that we’re still talking about 50 years later.

Until the next visit from The Booth, Rest In Peace Franco Harris!




If I Owned The Team…

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Greetings from The Booth!

“Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!” That was the classic line delivered by the great Al Pacino in Godfather: Part 3, But it also applies to my love-hate relationship with the Washington, DC football franchise. 2 weeks ago, I didn’t watch a second of the Commanders’ loss to Tennessee. Last Thursday, the WVU game overlapped with Washington’s game with Chicago, and my Mounties won out, for the most part, as the Commanders-Bears game set football back about 100 years.

However, the Commanders continue to pull me back in because of the soap-opera nature of the organization. Every week there is new drama, mostly off-the-field stuff. This week, the drama, as usual, swirls around team owner Dan Snyder (surprise!). There now seems to be a groundswell among other NFL owners to force Snyder to sell the team, something fans have wanted for a long time. Continuing investigations into the team culture and constant bumbling on and off the field have made a once-proud franchise the NFL’s laughingstock.

To stave off a vote of league owners–24 are needed to force Snyder to sell–The Dan has allegedly compiled “dirt” on some of the team owners, by hiring a private investigator, a claim Snyder denies. Things have gotten so bad that Snyder has alienated the one friend he had in Cowboy’s owner Jerry Jones, who served as a mentor to Snyder when he first bought the Washington franchise. To be continued…

Anyway, with the ouster of Snyder a real possibility, I started to think about what I would do if I owned the Washington Commanders, and what it would take to return the team to respectability, so here goes:

Change The Name (again): Yes, I would immediately re-brand the team. The Commanders name seems half-baked, and no one I know likes it. Yes, the new uniforms are kinda cool, but there is no real tie to the team’s glorious past. I know the costs will be great to do this, but I’m working under the assumption that if I’m an NFL owner, I can afford to do this. I’d probably stop short of the original name, but something that ties the present to names like Riggins, Gibbs, Sonny, etc.

Get A Stadium Deal Done: No mincing words here. Fed-Ex Field is a urinal. It’s also home to one of the worst game-day experiences in the NFL. New digs in DC is preferable, but Northern Virginia works for me. This item is a must.

Get The Fans Back: Every game for the Commanders is basically a road game, because Fed-Ex is filled with the opposing teams’ fans. This is inexcusable. Yes, winning is the best solution to get fans back, but beyond that, I’d hire the best marketing people I could find, and figure out how to fill the seats again with Burgundy and Gold.

Stop The QB & Head Coach Merry-Go-Round: The number of Quarterbacks and Head Coaches under Dan Snyder would fill the Greater DC Area phone book. While I would not meddle in day-to-day football operations, I would choose a bright, young coaching prospect and tell my football people to get a franchise QB, and let him go through his growing pins on the field. I would be transparent with the fans and tell them that a few painful years will result in good things down the road. Let’s stop with the re-treads and has-beens and build something that is our own.

So, there you have it. Now all I need is about $300 billion.

Until the next visit from The Booth…HTTR!



He Said, She Said

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Greetings from The Booth!

Well, I’ve got a bit of a dilemma this coming Thursday. Mountaineers or Commanders? The way both are going, I may opt for a third choice: bed. Thursday night, my 2-3 WVU Mounties host Baylor, while the dumpster fire franchise formerly known as the Redskins play the Chicago Bears. This past Sunday, I watched exactly zero seconds of the Washington disaster against Tennessee (I’d better explain. I don’t get CBS and efforts to stream or add some app would take longer than the game itself). I decided to tidy up my long-neglected .92 acre. It turned out to be a great choice, as the Commanders lost on a Carson Wentz interception on the Titans’ 2-yard line on the game’s final play.

As for West Virginia, the cries of “fire Neal Brown” are growing louder in the Mountain State, as the fans are growing tired of “trusting the climb.” Should things go south early against Baylor Thursday night, it could get ugly in Morgantown. I have never bailed on the Blue and Gold–until their last game against Texas. 28-0 down was about all I could take.

So, who to watch on Thursday night? Forget about the DVR option. That stuff is beyond me, My VHS is still blinking twelve o’clock.

OK, we’ve all heard about the imminent end of the perfect marriage of Tom Brady and supermodel Gisele Bundchen. Apparently, the two are living separately, and she is nowhere to be seen at any of Brady’s games this year. I have no way of knowing for sure, but this all seems to stem from his decision to come out of a brief retirement and play one more season.

In my mind I can almost see how this breakup happened. After last season, Brady decided to hang up the cleats and concentrate more on his family. Football puts a great strain on a marriage and family, even more so with a player as driven as Tom Brady. His many Super Bowl rings are a testament to the time he has given to the game, and the sacrifice Brady has made at the expense of other facets of his life.

Gisele has made sacrifices of her own, having assumed most of the parental duties in the marriage while giving up her own career as a supermodel. I’m almost sure the couple mutually agreed that last season was to be Brady’s last. But, as most retired NFL players will tell you, there is an empty space when a player leaves the game. It’s not the grueling training camps they miss, or even the games. It’s the camaraderie they miss with the other guys. Players share a common bond that nothing else can replace, and Brady needed that more than another ring.

This has become a polarizing tale, with some calling Tom Brady selfish for choosing football over family, while some say that Gisele knew what she was getting when she married Tom Brady. As with most stories, there are three sides: his, hers, and the true story that lies somewhere in the middle. The truth, for now, remains Victoria’s secret…

Until the next visit from The Booth…GO MOUNTAINEERS!








Commander Carson

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Greetings from The Booth!

As I start the new week, I’m a little burned out on football after a weekend full of it, but that will change as the week wears on. After calling the Strasburg-Warren County game on Friday night, I spent most of Saturday morning trying to figure out how to watch the WVU-Kansas game that night (I finally figured it out and had to spend $9.99 to get ESPN+ on my Fire Stick). I shouldn’t have bothered, as my Mounties were shocked by the Jayhawks in OT, 55-42. The last Kansas team to score that many points was probably their basketball team, so the seat is now pretty warm for Neal Brown, whose team is now 0-2 for the first time since 1979. He’s gotta go, but the buyout is $20 million, so don’t hold your breath if you’re a WVU fan.

That loss ruined an otherwise good weekend of football, as the Marshall Thundering Herd took down number-8 Notre Dame (whose own Head Coach is the first in Irish history to start 0-3 in his first 3 games. I’m no big Marshall fan, but they may be the best team in West Virginia right now.

On Sunday, the Carson Wentz era began in Washington as the NFL took center stage. I was a day of roller-coaster emotions, as the franchise quarterback de jour started fast, leading the Commanders to a 14-3 lead. Then, the offense bogged down as Wentz threw 2 really bad interceptions and the Jaguars took a 22-14 lead. “Commander Carson” then turned things around and threw 2 TD passes, including the game-winner to rookie Jahan Dotson with under two minutes to go in the 28-22 victory.

I think the game was a microcosm of what we’re going to get from Wentz–the highest of highs, like his 49-yard strike to Terry McLaurin in the fourth quarter, and mind-boggling lows, like the interception of a screen pass that almost cost Washington the game.

All that being said, I like the weapons that Wentz has at his disposal, and this could be a fun offense to watch as the season goes on. One game does not a season make, but Dotson looks like the real deal. His game-winning catch in the corner of the end zone was breathtaking. Commanders’ Offensive Coordinator Scott Turner found creative ways to get playmaker Curtis Samuel the ball on Sunday, and it was great seeing TE Logan Thomas in the lineup. RB Antonio Gibson had a solid day, and when the game mattered, McLaurin made the big play.

As a footnote, in what has become typical of this bumbling, stumbling embarrassment of an organization under Dan Snyder, an official Commanders truck outside Fed-Ex Field on Sunday was selling mugs with the team “W” over top of an outline of Washington state. The mugs quickly became unavailable, but it’s not clear whether they sold out or were pulled.

Good thing the Commanders were better at football than geography on Sunday.

Until the next visit from The Booth…HTTC!