Paying Tribute to Larry Munson – Part II



Larry Munson Calls the Dawgs
In 1966 Larry Munson was working in West Palm Beach, Florida, covering spring training for the Atlanta Braves.  According to Wikipedia, Munson was browsing the Atlanta Journal, (now known as the Atlanta Journal-Constitution) when he noticed a blurb about Georgia Bulldog radio play-by-play man Ed Thilenius leaving The University of Georgia to take a broadcasting position with the Atlanta Falcons.

Larry Munson seized the opportunity and called the UGA athletic director to express interest in being the new voice radio voice of Georgia football.  He was quickly hired.  Despite the location of his new job, Munson continued living in Tennessee to maintain his Rod & Gun Club television show.  Larry Munson resided in Nashville until 1978 when he moved to Atlanta, Georgia, to work as a reporter for the Georgia Radio Network.

A Match Made In Bulldog Heaven
Larry Munson’s distinct voice set the tone for UGA football for over 40 years.  Former Georgia sideline reporter Loran Smith told the Gwinnett Daily Post that Munson was cut from a different mold than the sportswriters of today.  Larry Munson was a master at his craft while openly rooting for Georgia, which is one of the many reasons Munson will forever be revered by Bulldog Nation.

Larry Munson’s Favorite Calls of All-Time
Rather than opining about personal favorite Larry Munson moments, it is best to track down Munson’s fondest bellows according to the memoirs he left behind.  The historic memories that follow can be found in an ESPN Insider CFB Nation article written by David Ching on November 21, 2011.

Larry Munson’s ten favorite calls are chronicled in the article, which is written according to Munson’s autobiography, “From Herschel to Hobnail Boot: The Life and Times of Larry Munson. For the purposes of this blog, his top five calls are remembered.

5. Sugar Falling From the Sky/Hunker Down!
Larry Munson’s work on the Georgia/Auburn game in ’82 has likely been brought up during every UGA football season since it occurred on November 13, 1982. The Dawgs put on their rally cleats to stage a comeback and grab the from the Auburn Tigers.  Munson made it sound as if the Bulldogs were hanging on for dear life.

I know I’m asking a lot, you guys, but hunker it down one more time!” UGA responded by stopping Auburn on fourth down, which led to an observation which will live forever in Georgia football lure. “Look at the sugar falling out of the sky.”  Hear the call at larrymunson.com.

4.  My God a Freshman
I regret that I was not conceived yet, so that I could at least lay claim to being alive in some form when Herschel Walker announced his arrival in Athens. It was on September 6, 1980 and the Dawgs found themselves trailing the Tennessee Volunteers.

Enter freshman running back Herschel Walker. Larry Munson’s rousing reaction to Herschel’s heroics soon followed. “He’s running all over people! Oh, you, Herschel Walker.  My God almighty, he ran right through two men. They had him dead-away inside the nine. Herschel Walker went 16 yards. He drove right over orange shirts, just driving and running with those big thighs. My God, a freshman!“  Hear the call.



3.  An Olympic Effort
Florida Gators football is nauseating.  From the obnoxious Gator chomp celebration, to the ridiculous statue of Tim Tebow, everything about the swamp sucks. In 1975, the Bulldogs used some trickery to pry a win from the jaws of the Gators. With Georgia in a 7-3 hole, UGA head coach Vince Dooley called a reverse pass.

To the delight of UGA fans, Larry Munson roared during the ensuing touchdown which propelled Georgia to a 10-7 victory over UF.  “Washington caught it, thinking of Montreal and the Olympics, and ran out of his shoes right down the middle 80 yards! Gator Bowl rocking, stunned, the girders are bending now. Look at the score!”  Hear the call.

The final two calls will be remembered in part III of our tribute to Larry Munson. We will also share a bit of personal recollection on what impression the Bulldog legend left on every Georgia fan who heard him call a football game.

The 2012 Atlanta Falcons Fell Short of Greatness

In the End, Matty Ice Melted
The first quarter of this past weekend’s NFC Championship Game could not have been more exciting for Atlanta Falcons fans. The home team was a four point underdog, but Matt Ryan and company jumped out to a 17 point lead before the 49ers ever knew what hit them. By halftime Atlanta knew they were in for a fight from Colin Kaepernick and hard-hitting San Francisco, but even the most jaded Atlanta fan had to feel good about a ten point lead with thirty minutes to play. However, as the third quarter got under way, Matty Ice began to melt. The hopes of the Atlanta Falcons faithful unraveled along with him.

When can we stop being mocked by a member of the opposing team using the Dirty Bird?

Matt Ryan is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Even so, he picked a horrible time to play what was arguably the worst half of his professional career. The interception that he threw was costly, but the well executed snap that he fumbled may haunt him until the Atlanta Falcons finally rise up to a Super Bowl appearance.

If You Ain’t First, You’re Last
I had to borrow a line from Ricky Bobby to capture my feelings about this football season. It was a great year, but the Falcons fell short of their ultimate goal. The 2012 Dirty Birds won thirteen regular season games, a division title, and they secured home field advantage. Obvious positives not withstanding, Atlanta still does not have a Lombardi Trophy, and Arthur Blank will have to wait (at least) another year for a championship parade.

Want in One Hand and Crap in the Other. See Which Fills Up First
I must admit that sour grapes is not a good color on me but I wanted a canvas to express my frustration and this is it. All the pining in the world will not bring a Super Bowl victory to Atlanta. The Falcons must actually be good enough to win it.  As we inch ever closer to the Harbaugh Super Bowl, my misery is compounded. Two weeks of stories about brothers coaching against each other in the biggest game on the National Football League calendar. Riveting.

Hope Springs Eternal in Hotlanta
One of my favorite things about being an avid sports fan is that nothing is permanent. There is always next season and no matter how frustrating or disheartening it may get, I will have the privilege of watching the Georgia Bulldogs and Atlanta Falcons attempt to grab the brass ring once again. Part of the joy of winning is watching your team grow from a crushing defeat to achieve the ultimate goal. This fall will be a very intriguing time to be a football fan in the Peach State. 

The upcoming 49ers-Ravens Superbowl has been nicknamed Superbaugh by ESPN. it is going to be a long two weeks.

The Atlanta Falcons Should Thank Bobby Petrino for Leaving

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We can thank Bobby Petrino for an awful season that allowed the Falcons to draft Matt Ryan.

The Atlanta Falcons and Matt Ryan Finally Win a Playoff Game
Following their biggest victory in nine years, it is only fitting to examine where this now proud franchise was just over a half decade ago. In 2007, Bobby Petrino had built a proud college program at Louisville, throwing the ball all over the field with quarterbacks such as Brian Brohm. Following 8-8 and 7-9 seasons respectively that felt a lot like a football version of the movie Groundhog Day, the Falcons fired then head coach Jim Mora Jr. Atlanta owner Arthur Blank set out on a coaching search that led him to Bobby Petrino, who vowed to turn the Michael Vick experience into a complete quarterback.

After Bobby Petrino Arrived, Michael Vick Never Played Another Down as a Falcon
Unfortunately for Bob-O, he never got the opportunity to coach Michael Vick, because Vick was incarcerated during the offseason.  So began the miserable Bobby Petrino experiment in Atlanta. As hard as it was on Petrino, it was probably even more difficult for us fans. After all, we had to go from watching Michael Vick electrify “Hotlanta” to witnessing Joey Harrington’s last ditch effort for success in the National Football League.

The Task of Rebuilding the Atlanta Falcons was too Much for Bobby Petrino
Bobby Petrino’s only season in the NFL was abysmal. It was so terrible that he did not even spend a whole season as the coach of the Falcons. After coaching just thirteen regular season games in the National football league, Petrino took his ball and went to Arkansas. He is a quitter, but it is hard to blame him. He thought he was getting the chance to coach Michael Vick, instead Atlanta ended up with a miserable concoction of Joey Harrington, Byron Leftwich, and Chris Redman at the quarterback position. If I were Petrino, I probably would have fled, too.

Bobby Petrino,Thank you for Leaving Atlanta When you did
Bobby Petrino’s decision to leave Atlanta opened the door for Mike Smith, Thomas Dimitroff, Matt Ryan and Michael Turner. Without having a terrible year in 2007, it is highly unlikely that the Falcons would have ended up with their current personal. It has taken a little bit longer than the Atlanta faithful would have liked, but the Falcons have reached the NFC Championship. Thanks, in some small part, to Bobby Petrino’s desire to be a pig.

Bobby Petrino Should Learn to be More Careful on his Motorcycle
I would be remiss not to provide an update on how old Bob-O is doing these days. For those of you that somehow missed it, Petrino went whee-whee-whee off of his motorcycle and landed on his face. A female intern was on the back of said motorcycle at the time of the incident. I have found hilarious video footage of the press conference that Bobby Petrino had just a few days after the accident.



Petrino has found work yet again, as he was hired by the University of Western Kentucky. Good luck to Bobby Petrino and the Hilltoppers. (sounds like some sort of a band) More importantly, go Dirty Birds, the state of Georgia could use another big win.

Former Atlanta Falcons and UGA Defensive Coordinator Brian VanGorder Heads To Auburn- Alabama Dominates LSU

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This must feel like forever ago to LSU fans.

There is a lesson to be learned from the Alabama Crimson Tide’s domination of LSU in New Orleans–Don’t bet against Nick Saban twice. It was a foolish thing to do, especially when one considers that the Alabama head coach had over a month to prepare for an LSU team that he was already very familiar with en route to his third national championship. Alabama blanked the Tigers in the rematch by a final score of 21-0, as the Tide earned sweet redemption for their only loss of the season. The victory gave the University of Alabama their second national title in three years.

Picking Up The Pieces
As for the Tigers, LSU seemed to believe they could win the game last night on hype alone. Once the game kicked off, the Tigers did not look anything like the team that finished the regular season unbeaten on their way to dismantling the Bulldogs in the Georgia Dome for the SEC championship. However, the Bayou Bengals now have an entire offseason to figure out what went wrong. Alabama and LSU will likely begin the 2012 season ranked #1 and #2 which spells trouble for the rest of the Southeastern Conference.

Dawg Days Ahead?–Brian VanGorder returns to the SEC
Georgia has aspirations of competing with Alabama and LSU for a championship next year. For what it’s worth the Bulldogs are ranked number six in Mark Schlabach’s Way Too Early Top 25 on ESPN.com. After Monday’s developments Bulldog Nation will have to face an old friend beginning next season as well. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports Brian VanGorder is the new defensive coordinator for the Auburn Tigers. Continue reading

Maddawg’s Sports Weekend Itinerary – Atlanta Falcons Football Thursday Night Edition

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Here is one referee who really wants a playoff.

Bowl season officially begins for college football this weekend, with three games on Saturday. The afternoon starts with the Temple Owls taking on the Wyoming Cowboys in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl. Afterward, the MAC runner up Ohio faces Utah State in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. (fantastic name) In the nightcap, San Diego State plays Louisiana Lafayette in the R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl. For some college football fanatics, these match-ups will be an interesting part of the college football bowl season. However, they could still take place before or during a playoff if there ever is one. Even if there is never a playoff system in major college football, hope springs eternal.

A look at key NFL match-ups

The National Football League is beginning to heat up because the pro game does have playoffs to look forward to. The Atlanta Falcons host the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday Night Football tonight. The 8-5 Dirty Birds saved their season with a comeback victory over Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers four days ago. A quick turnaround is not ideal, but the Jags are just 1-5 away from Jacksonville, and 4-9 overall. Atlanta can not afford a letdown at home after erasing a 23-7 halftime deficit last week.

The Falcons need at least ten wins to have a shot at the postseason in the crowded NFC. The Dirty Birds may need to win out, because 10 wins is not a sure playoff birth this year.  After tonight’s game the Falcons travel to New Orleans, before they host Tampa at home in the regular season finale. It is critical that the Falcons rise up and win on Thursday Night Football.



Tim Tebow Flavored Kool-Aid

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Tim Tebow kills his detractors with kindness.

If the Broncos win again this week then Kool-Aid needs to see if Tim Tebow wants his own flavor. Tebow mania has officially spread from college to the NFL.  Denver versus New England is being bet on five times more than a typical NFL regular season game. As a result the line for the Sunday afternoon game has moved up to 6.5, and then 7. Tim Tebow and the Broncos struck again last week, erasing a 10 point deficit late in the fourth quarter.  Bronco kicker Matt Prater deserves a ton of credit for his two long field goals, as does every Denver Bronco for believing in their unconventional offense. It will be interesting to see if Tebow and company can keep up if The Brady Bunch score early and often. The good news for the Broncos is that the Patriot defense comes into week 15 as the worst statistical defense in the NFL. Continue reading

Maddawg’s Sports Weekend Itinerary (December 9 – 11, 2011)

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Washington D.C. is the perfect location for Army-Navy.

College football has one regular season match-up left on the schedule this weekend, as Army-Navy takes center stage on Saturday afternoon in Washington, D.C. Many involved in the game of football could learn from the sportsmanship, pride, and passion that goes into the yearly rivalry between the two teams.

Both of these service academies have struggled to win football games in 2011. Navy has four victories this season, while Army is 3-8. Each team runs the triple option offense with an eye on ball control to keep the other team off the field. The Black Knights lead the NCAA in rushing but that has not translated to a lot of points. On defense Army has not been able to keep opposing teams out of the end-zone often enough. As for the Midshipmen of Navy, they rank fourth in the nation in rushing and have lost five games this season by a touchdown or less.

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“RG3″ deserves to win the 2011 Heisman Trophy.

The 2011 Heisman Trophy presentation is on Saturday night. The winner may very well come down to conference reputation versus most deserving in the eyes of the voters for the second straight weekend. Robert Griffin III should win the 2011 Heisman Trophy. This blog observed a few weeks ago that there is not a single athlete in college football who has done more with less than “RG3.” The other finalists have had great seasons but Robert Griffin III has made Baylor Bears football relevant. Continue reading

Maddawg’s Sports Weekend Itinerary (October 14 – 16, 2011)

This weekend marks the release of the first BCS poll. The SEC West division will be well represented in the first BCS standings, with Alabama and LSU likely to be interchangeable candidates for the top spot. While there is always the potential for an upset on any given Saturday, look for LSU to be #1 and Alabama to be #2 in the first Bowl Championship Series standings.

Another big sports happening this weekend is the determination of the World Series match-up in Major League Baseball. (Although if there is a game 7 the NLCS will wrap up on Monday) The Rangers hope the second time is the charm, while Milwaukee hopes to have the chance to add a World Series Trophy with the Lombardi ones already on the crowded Wisconsin mantle.

In the NFL,The Atlanta Falcons host the Carolina Panthers in a pivotal NFC South battle. The Falcons have gone from a preseason Super Bowl contender to wondering if they can even make it back to the playoffs. Sunday afternoon is the first step required to save their season. Cam Newton has proven to be a worthy #1 overall pick so far. A game against the struggling Falcons defense must have the former Auburn Tiger on the prowl.



Last week I went 9-1, with the only blemish coming as a result of picking the Philadelphia Eagles. While there is not a game that jumps off the college football schedule in week seven, Saturday has the potential to be a great day of football. First up is South Carolina as they travel to Mississippi State. After what one Mississippi State player did between the hedges, Dan Mullen owes Georgia Bulldog Nation one. Elsewhere in the SEC, the #1 LSU tigers roar into Knoxville on Saturday afternoon, while the Dawgs walk into Nashville on Saturday Night.



College Football picks:

Mississippi State has a quarterback controversy in Starkville, while Steve Spurrier is going with Connor Shaw from here on out, following Stephen Garcia’s dismissal. It will be interesting to see how Shaw handles the transition from golden boy to whipping boy upon making his first mistake. I’m going with my heart instead of my head on this one.

Mississippi State 27, South Carolina 24

Robert Griffin III is amazing to watch. He has players around him on offense who are fantastic as well. However, Baylor’s defense leaves something to be desired. Texas A&M is coming off a track meet with Texas Tech that they won 45-40. This one will also be high scoring, but the Aggies will do just enough on defense to win.

Texas A&M 48, Baylor 45

Tennessee gets LSU at home. Don’t expect to hear many folks singing “Rocky Top” once this one is underway. Even the most faithful Volunteer fans will probably head for an early exit.

LSU 38, Tennessee 10.

Florida and Auburn meet at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday night. The Gators find themselves without starting quarterback Jeff Brantley for the second straight game. As a result, Auburn will find a way to win at home.

Auburn 24, Florida 17

Lastly, in the easiest pick of the week: Mark Richt will sic’ the Dawgs on Vanderbilt. Mr. Richt is a reasonable man, so he will call them off when it is necessary. Georgia goes into the bye week riding a five game win streak.

Georgia 34, Vanderbilt 10

NFL

The Atlanta Falcons do not have a lot to feel good about right now. If they start 2-4, with the way their schedule sets up from here on out, it may be too big of a hole to climb out of. Rise up, Falcons.



 

Falcons 21, Panthers 17

In the other NFC South battle, the Saints visit Tampa Bay. Drew Brees and company outscore the Bucs.

Saints 41, Buccaneers 31

Detroit is still undefeated. That won’t change on Sunday as the Lions go for their sixth win in a row.

Lions 31, 49ers 21

Bears over the Vikings on Sunday Night. Donovan McNabb left his heart in Philadelphia.

Bears 24, Vikings 21

On Monday Night Football, The Jets will beat the 0-4 Dolphins in a bore of a prime time match-up.

Jets 31, Dolphins 10.

Enjoy the weekend. GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO DAWGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!