Mix & Match Monday: Woops! Forgot Last Week

Well, I broke a rule I set for myself. I missed doing a blog post last Monday. It was part laziness and the other part exhaustion from a different work schedule. It was also the day of my birthday, so I get a pass, right? Right?

Anyway…Here’s your Mix & Match Monday: Week of June 21 Edition…

-I turned 32 last week and really didn’t do anything for my birthday. Birthdays after a certain age are no longer celebrated the same way each year.

I think Patton Oswalt put it best…

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-My plan to get rich quick by winning the Ohio Vax-a-Million lottery appears to be failing. There is one last drawing coming up today and the winner will be announced on Wednesday night. I’ve learned that the winner of the $1 million prize has some kind of interaction with the Governor. The most recent winner FaceTimed with him.

If I do win, just text me a couple of money bag emojis.

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-I don’t know if an Islanders-Canadiens Stanley Cup Final would be good on paper, but might be better for television ratings. Nothing against the Vegas Golden Knights or defending champion, the Tampa Bay Lightning, but New York and Montreal, two teams nobody saw making it to the Stanley Cup Semifinals in a season unlike others in the past, are peaking at the right time.

Both semifinal seres are 2-2 as of this post, so they have at least been entertaining.

It is still strange to see Vegas, Tampa and New York all back to full capacity crowds and Montreal is still limited to around 3,000 fans. Come on, Trudeau! 75 percent of Canadians have at least one vaccine dose, and two out of ten are fully vaccinated. Just give the second doses out at Tim Horton’s or something.

Maybe get Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews to help out like when Sidney Crosby and Nate MacKinnon worked at a Tim Horton’s drive-thru several year ago.

McDavid and Matthews have had a lot of downtime the past couple weeks…

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-We are at the start of air conditioning season, and that means the electric bill will experience its annual summer bump. Having an apartment means the electric bill is reasonable, but from June thru August, it doubles, and almost tripled two summers ago.

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-Later this week, I’m heading to Deep Creek in Maryland for my future brother-in-law’s bachelor party. For as hot as it has been, it will feel more like spring while we’re there. The latest weather check had temperatures in the 70s on day one, with a high of 69 (nice) the second day. Maybe I won’t need all that sunscreen, after all. That’s a lie, I burn easily.

Earlier this year, I think Saturday Night Live wrote the unofficial anthem for bachelor parties…

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-I will be attending my first Reds game since 2019 this Thursday night and I’m really looking forward to it. Although, my girlfriend and I had a debate going Sunday night when making plans for what to do before the game while in the Banks, the area around Great American Ballpark that has bars, restaurants, etc. That debate is “How long before first pitch until you go into the ballpark?”

Chew on that for a bit. Another blog post is coming this week about that.

Mix & Match Monday: OK, These Cicadas Suck

After the pandemic put a damper on the summer of 2020, this summer will be closer to normal.

The only problem is, it coincides with the emergence of Brood X Cicadas in my area.

Originally, I thought “meh, I’ve seen these things before. They’re annoying but it won’t be too bad”. This past week, it rained here on Wednesday and Thursday. Then it cleared up and got much warmer as the weekend arrived.

Then, on Saturday, like the fans returning to sporting events over the past month, they emerged in greater numbers…

Yeah, those suckers are loud and have no sense of direction. Like high school seniors at after-prom, they are wandering around aimlessly trying to get lucky.

Just hours after I wrote this post, a cicada caused thousands of dollars in vehicle damage locally…

The last time I experienced a cicada emergence was at my cousin’s bachelor party in southwest Pennsylvania five years ago. We were in the Laurel Highlands near Seven Springs Mountain Resort and they were everywhere. Haven’t seen anything yet in Cincinnati that compares to that, but even as I don’t see a lot of them, I can definitely hear them and we are reportedly nearing peak emergence.

Here’s your Mix & Match Monday: Week of June 7 Edition…

One of the podcasts I have been tuning into since the start of the year has been “The Dan Le Batard Show w/Stugotz”, especially now that Le Batard and crew have departed ESPN Radio and the company all-together, while he and former ESPN President John Skipper have created a new media company called Meadowlark.

To begin a 3-year, $50 million partnership with Draft Kings, Dan Le Batard, his radio team and others joining him at Meadowlark did a live, 24-hour show on YouTube from his studio in Miami at the Clevelander which ran from Noon Friday to Noon Saturday (well, technically 11:50 a.m., but it doesn’t matter).

I watched the first 9.5 hours, and then tuned in at times during work, then slept a little bit, waking up just in time for the final hour. At times there were some sounds issues, which are expected when you’re doing a marathon like that without ESPN helping out, but it was a success. Big names in sports like Bob Costas, Jim Rome, Dan Patrick, Pat Riley, Charles Barkley and others appeared, with pre-taped bits, live animals, drunk people, cursing, eating hot peppers to raise money for ALS research and even Jim Brockmire appeared.

The full, 24-hour video will soon be available, but here’s a good 11-minute recap.

You’ll enjoy it more if you “Get the Show”…

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My girlfriend and I watched “The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel” on Netflix, which told the story of Elisa Lam’s disappearance at the seedy, downtown Los Angeles hotel near Skid Row, where she wound up being found dead inside a water tank on the roof, with police ruling Lam’s death an accidental drowning.

Many times during the four-episode documentary, I said out loud “I f***ing hate YouTubers”. Don’t get me wrong, there are entertaining YouTube channels with people who put out great content. But like true crime podcasters, internet sleuths who try to be keyboard detectives/journalists really annoy me. Most were wrong at every turn, speculating like crazy, and when they didn’t get the final cause of death they wanted, they, like the Q’Anon wackos, went further down the rabbit hole, even going as far as to accuse an innocent man of killing Lam. They saw he stayed at the Cecil Hotel the same month as she did, but were too lazy to realize that he was there a year prior to Lam’s visit.

If you like put-downs like this, make sure to LIKE this post and SUBSCRIBE to the blog.

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-The Montreal Canadiens seem to like pandemic hockey.

Last season, when the league restarted in bubbles set up in Toronto and Edmonton, they were the lowest-seeded team in the Stanley Cup Qualifiers, beating the top-seeded Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 in the best-of-3 series, moving on to the first round, eventually losing to the Philadelphia Phillies. If the pandemic doesn’t happen, Montreal likely misses the playoffs in 2020 for a third-straight season.

This season, they finished 4th in the all-Canadian team North Divsion, and appeared to be dead in the water down 3-1 to the Toronto Maples Leafs in the first round. But the Maple Leafs were, well, the Maple Leafs, and blew the series as the Canadiens won three-straight. Now, they are up 3-0 in their second round series against the Winnipeg Jets and are one win away from playing either the Colorado Avalanche or Vegas Golden Knights in the third round.

The last time a team from Canada won the Stanley Cup was 1993, and it was Montreal who raised it. Maybe they do it this season as the underdog?

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-The United States Men’s National Team winning the first-ever CONCACAF Nations League Final 3-2 in extra time against Mexico in Denver Sunday night was an incredible match. The kind that gets you excited about watching U.S. men’s soccer again and gives Americans a chance to learn about VAR and really hate it.

Christian Pulisic scored on a penalty in the 114th minute, after a VAR review, to put the U.S. ahead, but Mexico would later get a chance after VAR was utilized again, as U.S. goalkeeper Ethan Horvath made the stop on the penalty, preventing the match from going to penalty kicks to decide the championship.

Mexico fans looked bad.

Frustrations led to them throwing bottles and empty beer cups onto the pitch at U.S. players while doing a homophobic chant as Pride Month has just begun in the United States.

Where’s Sam Wyche when you need him?

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-This is the final week of my 31st year on this planet and it wasn’t all bad. The 32nd year will happen should be a little more like the 30th.

Mix & Match Monday: Start to Summer?

The unofficial start to summer is here and for most of the holiday weekend in Ohio, it has not felt that way.

After it felt like summer most of the previous week, a cold front had temperatures in the 50s and clouds Saturday, which made it feel like a day in which you go to a college football game. Sunday was slightly better and Memorial Day has sunshine and temperatures you expect this time of year. But I have to work. Thanks, Mother Nature.

Obviously, this holiday is to remember those who gave their lives serving our country to ensure the freedoms we enjoy. I don’t need a Facebook meme to remind me of that, random person I’m friends with.

With things improving in regards to COVID-19, it feels like a near-normal Memorial Day weekend.

Here’s your Mix & Match Monday: Week of May 31th Edition

-The Memorial Day weekend brings with it a lot of sporting events. One of the biggest is the UEFA Champions League Final. It featured an all-English final between Chelsea F.C. and Manchester City, with Chelsea winning 1-0, the kind of score you expect when two Premier League clubs play.

While it was a European championship, the Blues winning was significant for U.S. Soccer. Hershey, Pennsylvania native Christian Pulisic, who had a goal in the semifinals that lifted Chelsea into the Final, became the first American-born player to appear in a Champions League title match and also win the coveted championship. Pulisic provides hope for the U.S. Men’s National Team, which failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, as supporters look to the 22 year-old to lead the club back to the 2022 World Cup and with an automatic bid for the 2026 World Cup already in place for the U.S., Pulisic could provide a bigger boost to a growing sport in his home country.

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-Closer to home, the Indy 500 saw the largest crowd to attend a sporting event since the pandemic began. It was great to see, but outside of the spectacle that is a part of Americana, I could only watch so much of the race before turning the channel to something else.

Then there’s the milk tradition. It’s unique, but during those past races where it’s been much hotter, is milk really the best choice after being in a car going 200mph for a few hours?

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-Seeing bad fans at games is nothing new. If I had dollar for every time I’ve seen two drunk Steelers fans almost beat the crap out of each other in the stands, I could buy a couple stadium beers (which are obviously not cheap). But the behavior coming from fans in the NBA is troubling. Especially as most of the incidents appear to be racially motivated.

Fans were left to watch games at home for more than a year due to COVID-19 while sports leagues retreated into bubbles and later empty venues to start 2021 campaigns. Most of the fans who have returned to stadiums and arenas have been good, but it’s the very few whose actions make that organization, the community and league look awful. A year ago at this time, former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin killed George Floyd, leading to nationwide protests and causing all of us to reckon with our country’s racist past and present, with hopes it will lead to a better future in which we stop repeating our history, and the NBA showed its support for Black Lives Matter.

Is that why these fans are acting out? Are they so mad at these guys for speaking out that they were just waiting around for the moment to lash out at them once they could come back into arenas? Whatever the reason, it’s a bad look for teams and their communities when fans hurl racial slurs, water bottles, dump popcorn on and spit at players.

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-I bought a coffee grinder recently and have joined “Team Beans”…if that was ever a thing. About a month ago, I upgraded my Keurig. The new one has the ability to do K-Cups and grounded coffee. I was a fool to not invest in one earlier.

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-An old co-worker from my radio days in Pittsburgh, Tad Wissel, posted my favorite new video from the holiday weekend. It requires some context, but if you follow the NHL on NBC and have ever done weekend landscaping, this is for you…

I would have preferred more Pierre, but this was brilliant.

This led to me finding out that Tad also did a fake ad promoting a landscaping company that looked to benefit from the publicity Rudy Guiliani’s press conference at Four Seasons Landscaping in Philadelphia got.

Again, great writing and production work. Having grown up in western Pennsylvania, he nailed it…

I have watched this about 50 times since finding it Saturday and laugh every damn time.

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-I did not win the first Ohio Vax-A-Million lottery this past Wednesday. If I did, you probably would have seen me on television. Someone who lives about five miles from my apartment was the first winner. She got a call from the governor, appeared with him during a press conference and part of it was shown during a CNN story package.

As someone in the media, I would like to just skip the publicity tour if I were to win at some point over the next four weeks. Also, how do I report that I just won a million dollars?

Maybe I could use this for reference…

See you next Monday, where I won’t be any wealthier.

Who in Pittsburgh had a Worse Week? Tristan Jarry or Will Craig?

The week of May 23 was not a good one for Pittsburgh sports, and there are two athletes in town who carried the baton for this race to the bottom between the Penguins and Pirates.

Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry got it started Monday when he helped assist on the Islanders game-winning goal in double overtime during Game 5 of the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, a game that did nothing to help Jarry, who outside of Game 2, had a horrific series.

Just watch this clip as Jarry attempts to clear the puck down the middle of the ice, which is always a bad idea, leading to Josh Bailey giving Penguins fans old enough to remember Vietnam-style flashbacks to the second round of the 1993 playoffs when David Volek scored in Game 7 of overtime, crushing Pittsburgh’s chances at a third-straight championship like the ice did to Kevin Stevens’ face earlier in the game.

After this disaster, Jarry collapsed in the second period of Game 6 at New York, as the Penguins lost 5-3 and lost the series 4-2.

Not even 24 hours after the dumpster fire at the Coliseum, the Pittsburgh Pirates needed to remind Jarry and the Penguins that they were still the most dysfunctional team in town.

In the top of the 3rd with two outs, the Chicago Cubs had a runner on second with Javier Baez hitting a bouncer to third, which should have been a 5-3 put out. Pirates first baseman Will Craig caught the throw that took him off the bag and all he had to do was touch first base.

Then this happened…

Let’s run down everything wrong with this play.

-Will Craig brain fart. Don’t forget that.

-Nobody is covering first base while Craig gets into the unnecessary rundown with Baez between home and first. Then we see the comical error when someone realizes they should get over there.

-Baez, who should’ve grounded out wound up at second base.

-Everyone in the Pirates infield forgot everyone on base is running on a two-out hit.

It was SO bad that every sports show and non-sports show talked about it, forcing Craig to get in front of the press and explain why he forgot how to play baseball for 20 seconds.

So, seeing the two blunders made, which one was worse?

You could say Tristan Jarry’s horrible playoff series was the worst of the week, especially since expectations were much higher for him and the Penguins. Most casual Pirates fans didn’t know who Will Craig was before he became known for all the wrong reasons, and when it comes to this current baseball team, nobody expects anything from them. I expect them to eclipse 100 losses.

The blunders by Jarry and Craig will live on the internet forever, but eventually people will move on when someone else commits a game-costing or lowlight-worthy moment.

Mix & Match Monday: Maybe This Will Catch On?

Introducing “Mix & Match Monday”: random observations and a look ahead at the week coming up because you never know what’s gonna blindside us these days.

Well, it is the week before Memorial Day weekend. When I was a kid, the upcoming weekend was the signal that school was going to be winding down within the next week or two and summer was right around the corner.

I am now on the cusp of turning 32 and have a job where I’ve worked major holidays the past several years, so Memorial Day weekend is more about remembering those who gave their lives while serving in the U.S. military and less about me looking forward to three months of doing nothing.

Two years ago, with some luck, I got Memorial Day off and took in a day-night doubleheader as my Pittsburgh Pirates were in Cincinnati to face the Reds. Several hours in the sun and several beers later, I was burnt to a crisp. To this day, I always take sunscreen with me if there’s a chance I’ll be out in the hot sun for a while.

Here’s your Mix & Match Monday: Week of May 24th Edition

Ever since the C.D.C. made recommendations that fully vaccinated people don’t need to wear masks in some cases while indoors, I, someone who has been fully vaccinated for weeks now, began to explore what it would be like in Ohio.

Kroger this past Thursday started allowing customers to go maskless if fully vaccinated. I took my mask in with me, strapped around my wrist, and did a quick 5 to 10 minute shopping trip without it on. After months of wearing one in that particular Kroger, it almost felt like I was naked. Some went without a mask, others kept them on.

I had a mixed reaction since you have no way to know if someone without a mask has had two or more weeks since their second Pfizer or Moderna shot or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The C.D.C. essentially made it an honor system and how the hell do you assure someone in the produce aisle that you’re fully-vaxxed and reaping the award of trusting science?

In the end, I put my insecurity out of mind, got my stuff, did self checkout, filled my reusable bags and left. Maybe me helping to reduce the use of plastic bags shows I’m fully vaccinated?

Smaller, indoor places like convenience stores, coffee shops and restaurants, I still wear one for now. Ohio’s mask mandate goes away for everyone on June 2, so we’ll see what happens.

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-Since I’m fully vaccinated, I have five chances to win $1 million in Ohio’s Vax-A-Million lottery. The giveaway is a way to see how greed can make a vaccine skeptic get inoculated with safe, life-saving vaccine other countries are begging to get while we sit on a surplus because you read garbage conspiracy theories. The “Bill Gates wants to inject micro chips in all of us to track us” conspiracy is the gold-standard. Too bad the smartphone you carry in your pocket already does that, idiot!

Anyway, I got the Pfizer vaccine just because I wanted to see my family for the first time in 14 months, but if my name is one of the five drawn, I’ll take the $1 million without thinking twice.

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-I‘ve watched more soccer the last two weeks than I have in the past year or two. Mainly, The F.A. Cup, English Premier League and Major League Soccer.

Liverpool’s turbulent season ends with a 3rd place finish and stay in the Champions League for next season, Leicester City choked and Chelsea F.C. owes a favor to rival Tottenham Hot Spurs for beating the Wolves after Chelsea fell to Aston Villa on Sunday. Chelsea takes on E.P.L. champion Manchester City this upcoming weekend for the Champions League title. I’ll be watching, hoping to see American Christian Pulisic come off the bench for Chelsea and get the winning goal, giving me confidence that he can give the U.S. Men’s National Team a pulse for the future.

Also, if F.C. Cincinnati just played C.F. Montreal each week, they could finish the season near or at .500.

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The season finale of Saturday Night Live was well done.

The cold open reflecting on what it was like to do live television during the COVID-19 pandemic was both hilarious and a little emotional. I remember watching the “SNL at Home” shows to conclude the previous season and then a return to doing the show in its regular format in the fall of 2020 was interesting to watch.

Weekend Update saw Colin Jost and Michael Che swap jokes again, a tradition between the co-head writers.

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-The Pittsburgh Pirates just put a lot of pressure on the Penguins to make a deep run in the Stanley Cup Playoffs this summer after the Pirates were outscored 37-9 by the Atlanta Braves, losing three of four this past weekend. Has anyone changed the Pirates Wikipedia page to Ronald Acuna Jr. yet?

After watching the Penguins help the Islanders score three of their four goal in Game 4 Saturday afternoon, I hope Pittsburgh remembers to help out their goalie and which net to shoot on going forward.

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-The Washington Capitals were bounced by the Boston Bruins in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, as Boston won the series 4-1. Whether you’re a Penguins fan or Islanders fan, you probably preferred facing Washington in round two.

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-With Memorial Day weekend coming up, I’m reminded that I used to eat Tootsie Rolls that were thrown from fire engines during a parade in my grandparent’s town. If it wasn’t for that, what would the point of going to the parade be for a chubby kid?

Enjoy the upcoming three-day weekend, stay hydrated, put on the sunscreen and if I become a millionaire Wednesday, have a good life.

Just kidding. I’ll still post junk.

2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs: The Most Normal Hockey Has Felt Since The March 2020 Pause

Maybe it’s because fans are slowly coming back into the stands? Maybe it’s because my Pittsburgh Penguins again matching up against the New York Islanders again in round one and possibly facing the Washington Capitals in the second round again, just like they did for three-straight playoffs from 2016-2018?

Regardless, this is the most normal the National Hockey League has felt since the March 12, 2020 pause due to COVID-19.

It is still not normal. From the bubbles in Toronto and Edmonton to finish the 2020 season after a long layoff, to the corporate-sponsored divisions created to limit travel and the empty arenas or limited crowds allowed in, this has been a strange season, but also kind of fun.

Teams only play within their division, it was a shortened 56-game regular season and with no Eastern or Western Conference, we could have a Stanley Cup Final you would never see in the normal four-division, two-division format that’s been in place for almost a decade.

There are few observations from this season….

-The East Division, or “Metropolitan Light”, was the most entertaining of the four.

-The Carolina Hurricanes being put in the Central Division gave them a better chance to win a division title. The would have had the potential to be a 3 or 4 seed in the East based on the better competition there compared to the Central.

-The Florida Panthers are that sneaky-good team this season. Sneaky because most in south Florida and the country don’t really pay attention to what’s happening in Sunrise. Maybe being a listener to The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz podcast as of late, and listening to the local hour with Roy Bellamy‘s hockey expertise, the “marching band to nowhere” has me keeping a close eye on the “Ice Cats”. #RAWR

-Just let the Toronto Maple Leafs play all the Canadian teams and they can win the division. But can they come out as the lone team from the North Division?

-My eyes are still getting used to the lighter blue the Colorado Avalanche are wearing this season with their helmets and jerseys. Did not see them winning the Presidents’ Trophy, but after watching them a little more lately, I can see why they pulled out the top spot out West and home ice for as long as they stay in the playoffs.

-The third round and Stanley Cup Final matchups have the potential to be really, really interesting. With no Eastern and Western Conferences this season, the final four, normally the conference finals, could feature matchups that would never be seen in a normal year. Imagine there being no National or American League Championship Series in baseball, with the Cardinals and Yankees playing for a spot in the World Series. Sidney Crosby and the Penguins vs. Auston Matthews and the Maple Leafs for the Cup, anyone?

-Will Canada let the North Division team cross the border to play games in the U.S. later in the playoffs? Talks are reportedly good, but the Canadian government has been a lot stricter with its COVID restrictions. None of the seven teams up north played in front of fans during the regular season. It also didn’t help the Vancouver Canucks had the worst virus outbreak of any team this season. The Montreal Canadiens will allow 12 percent capacity if a Game 6 happens in round one against Toronto.

-Speaking of fans, it has been SO nice to see fans in the stands again, with capacities slowly ticking up during the playoffs as vaccinations against COVID continue. Some states are moving faster than others, but whether they have been 5,000 or 10,000, real crowd noise with fans standing, waving rally towels beats the pumped-in noise we got in the bubbles.

The “Sean Gallagher Has Thoughts 2021 Spring Cleaning Spectacular”

There is nothing like a good spring cleaning, especially when you clean out old files taking up memory on your decade-old MacBook Pro.

That is what I spend this morning doing. Just emptying out file after file of content I have not opened or needed for years, which were slowing down my still-durable Mac almost ten years after getting it.

Because of this, getting the blog going again (I mean it this time!) will be easier since I won’t get the pinwheel of death anymore. Maybe it helps that I don’t have three different internet browsers on this laptop after today.

Also, speaking of spring cleaning, GallagherThinks.com has an all-new look!

New logo, new photo of yours truly and there will be new content as our “Hot Vaxxed Summer” gets underway.

More content will be coming.

In the meantime, follow me on twitter @GallagherRadio, Facebook and on Instagram @GallagherOnTheRadio

For Brian Kelly, His Success at Notre Dame is Graded on Championships

If you have ever taken a walk around Notre Dame Stadium, there are statues of Notre Dame coaches Knute Rockne, Frank Leahy, Ara Parseghian, Dan Devine and Lou Holtz.

What do these men have in common? Simple, they all won at least one national championship in South Bend.

For Brian Kelly, he will eventually surpass Rockne for most wins as a Notre Dame head coach, but what keeps him from being immortalized in bronze outside the stadium where he has coached since 2010 is the lack of a national title.

And Kelly has had his chances.

The first was during the 2012 season when the Irish finished undefeated, ranked No. 1 in the A.P. and B.C.S. standings, only to be rolled by No. 2 Alabama 42-14 in the National Championship Game in Miami that year.

In the College Football Playoff era, Notre Dame has made two appearances the last three seasons, only to be defeated by Clemson 30-3 in the Cotton Bowl during the 2018 season, who went on to win the National Championship, and just a few days ago losing 31-14 in the Rose Bowl to Nick Saban’s Alabama squad, who will play Ohio State for the title January 11.

What’s even more polarizing is Notre Dame’s abysmal record in New Year’s Six Bowl Games since the Bob Davie era.

The Irish are 0-7 since 1998 in those major bowl games. Kelly accounts for four of them. Along with the B.C.S. title game and playoff losses, a 44-28 Fiesta Bowl loss to Ohio State in 2015 is on his resume.

Since the departure of Lou Holtz, Notre Dame has not met the expectations that come with the history of the program. But Brian Kelly has been the bright spot since 1997.

Kelly has led the Fighting Irish to four-straight 10-win seasons following a 4-8 finish in 2016, when many questioned (myself included) if Notre Dame should fire him.

In his 11 seasons at the helm, the Irish have had six seasons with 10 or more wins, two undefeated regular seasons, and 2016 is the only losing season during his tenure.

This season, The Irish beat a No. 1 team (Clemson) for the first time since Lou Holtz’s 1993 team knocked off top-ranked Florida State.

Simply put, Notre Dame has been a much-more consistent and competitive team under Kelly since Holtz left, even as they fall short against the likes of Alabama.

His time at Notre Dame has also come in an era where the 4-team playoff began, realignment saw the school strike a deal with the Atlantic Coast Conference when the Big East crumbled, making the Irish a quasi-football member, and a full-time member for the 2020 season during the pandemic, and a decade where Alabama, other SEC schools, Florida State, Oregon, Ohio State and Clemson have been constant contenders for the national title.

You could make the argument that winning a championship for Notre Dame is harder in the present college football landscape compared to when coaches like Ara and Holtz won their titles.

These days, gaining favor with the A.P. voters doesn’t help you anymore like it did for Parseghian when he was happy to take a tie in the 1966 matchup against Michigan State, knowing if they won out, they’d be national champions.

This is not an effort to create excuses for Kelly, but circumstances have changed, along with the game in the last few decades.

Kelly and other coaches are epidemiologists trying to stay on top of the latest strain of Alabama football that emerges each fall.

With 102 wins, Brian Kelly, as mentioned earlier, will soon surpass the great Knute Rockne, who turned Notre Dame into a national name.

That is something for Kelly to hang his hat on. But at Notre Dame, that is the equivalent of a participation trophy. After Charlie Weis’ firing following the 2009 season, the school brought Kelly in to win a title. He has flirted with that immortality those before him achieved, but has yet to seal the deal.

A Brian Kelly statue could one day sit outside Notre Dame Stadium.

To start work on it, that national championship needs to be won.

Kelly may not be thinking about a statue of him at the gate, but he knows Notre Dame needs to break through and be the best in college football again to quiet doubters who will debate his legacy.

Oh. It’s Been a While

Yeah. It has been a LONG time since I’ve posted anything on this website, and I pay for this domain. Also, the homepage has been getting a lot of hits in China. Should I be worried?

Anyway, I’m still alive and like you doing fine. Not great, just fine like the rest of you.

Hang in there, guys. Better days are ahead.

I’ve heard the factoids like how William Shakespeare wrote ‘King Lear,’ ‘Macbeth’ and ‘Antony and Cleopatra’ during an outbreak of the plague in the early 17th century.

You would think with the extra downtime not going to bars, sporting events and other activities where we were allowed to be within six feet of each other, I could do more blog posts. Well, that didn’t happen.

But now, I’m ready to get this page running again and put aside a little time each week to do that.

Stay tuned.

The “Meh” Sports Weekend

Well, we’re almost through the first month of 2020. I hope you’re pacing yourself. It’s going to be a bumpy year. We got an impeachment trial underway in the Senate and caucuses and primaries on the horizon after Punxsutawney Phil decides to add a 13th month to this year’s calendar.

January hasn’t been all that bad, though.

The NFL playoffs provided some surprises. The Tennessee Titans saved us from another Super Bowl featuring the New England Patriots and somehow were one win away from going to Miami.

The Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Divisional round had some of us trying to fathom the idea of two AFC South teams playing for a trip to Super Bowl LIV, but woke up in the 2nd quarter after going down 24-0 to the Houston Texans, outscoring them 51-7 the rest of the way to win.

In the NFC, it was 49ers and Packers with San Francisco thumping Green Bay early to move on to the big game.

Now, we have entered the bye week before the Super Bowl, which has become Pro Bowl week over the past several seasons.

You know it. I know it. The Pro Bowl is trash. Such trash, they moved it from Honolulu, Hawaii to Orlando, Florida.

I’ll let Jim Brockmire fill you in on the details (31 seconds in)…

The game where players go half speed and pretend like they care and now the NFL is going to test out some new rules during it.

The main rule getting everyone’s attention is the 4th and 15 option when attempting a field goal.

It’s like any game show where you can take the guaranteed money or you can put it at risk. It could be fun, but it won’t stick in actual games. Also, no kickoffs, which could become the norm someday.

Can we also talk about how many channels this damn game is on?!

ESPN, ABC and Disney XD.

Let me get this straight. Monday Night Football is restricted to cable (shown over-the-air if that market’s team is playing), but we’ll put this lousy show on three channels?

I don’t get the Disney XD concept. If you polled a group of kids and said would you rather have a 4-hour marathon of Ducktales reruns or the Pro Bowl, I think they take Huey, Dewey and Louie over Joe and Booger.

This is also the weekend the NHL will host its All-Star Game. This year, it is happening in St. Louis.

The league made a very wise move last season by airing it on Saturday night and not Sunday afternoon. Also, the 3-on-3 tournament between the four divisions has made it so much better. Thrown in a $1 million prize for the winning team which adds some incentive.

A downside to this year’s festivities is the lack of big names.

Alexander Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Auston Matthews, Marc-Andre Fleury, Jake Guentzel and others are not taking part, most because of current injuries or past ones that kept them from getting votes or some don’t want to play.

A little added bonus are the honorary captains for the game…

Here’s a breakdown of these St. Louis-based celebrity captains.

Metropolitan Division: Jon Hamm

-Born in St. Louis (obviously). Pretty much fits into any television show or film, and is in this season’s Curb Your Enthusiasm where he gets kicked out of a home with Larry David.

Atlantic Division: Jenn Fischer

-Ft. Wayne, Indiana born, St. Louis raised. Will always be Pam Beesly from The Office to me. Became the Blues unofficial celebrity mascot during last spring’s Stanley Cup run.

Central Division: Brett Hull

-A hockey Hall of Famer who was a member of the St. Louis Blues for most of his 19-year career (1988-98). Scored that Cup-clinching goal for the Dallas Stars that lead to a re-write of the crease rule and was feeling himself at the Blues Cup celebration.

“WE WENT BLUES!”

I hope Brett stayed hydrated that day.

By the way, Hull is one of my favorite players from the 90s.

Pacific Division: Wayne Gretzky

-The Great One.

Gretzky played for the Blues during the 1995-96 season.

There will be NBA and college basketball games this weekend, as well, but two of the four major professional sports leagues are having their All-Star games, so it might be a good weekend to finally take down the Christmas lights or restart your failed New Year’s resolution.

We go from “Meh” weekend to Super Bowl week pretty quick after Sunday.

UPDATE: Forgot the “Royal Rumble” was on this weekend, so I’m getting some grief for that. I’m not a pro wrestling guy.

Follow Sean Gallagher on Twitter @GallagherRadio and the Blog @SGHasThoughts