Friday Oct 20
Written by Ben Pogany

They say that those who can't do, teach.  When it comes to coaching football, however, a little on-field experience never hurt anyone.  Though the sidelines will never boast the skills of say the pregame roundtables, every once in awhile an athlete comes along who finds a way to transmit his own talents to the next generation.  Here are the former playing careers of today's NFL coaches.   

Mike Singletary (Vikings assistant)- Samurai Mike was a two-time All-American at Baylor University before being drafted by the Chicago Bears in 1981. He went on to start 172 games for the Bears during his 12-year career (second most in club history), amassing an impressive 1,488 career tackles.  One of the most frightening "Monsters of the Midway," Singletary was a seven time first team All-Pro and two time Defensive Player of the Year.  Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1998, Singletary fared considerably less well on the sidelines, lasting a rough three years at the helm for the Niners from 2008-10.  He is currently an assistant for the Minnesota Vikings.
Jack Del Rio (former Jaguars coach)- The longtime Jags coach began his career as an All-American linebacker at USC, during which he would take MVP honors in the 1985 Rose Bowl. Del Rio concurrently excelled on the diamond, batting .340 and catching for a USC squad that included both a young Mark McGwire and Randy Johnson. Del Rio would be selected by the Saints in the 1985 NFL Draft, going on to play 11 years for four teams and earning All-Pro distinction in 1994. 
Mike Munchak (Titans)- Munchak was a nine time Pro-Bowl offensive guard for the Oilers, later elected to the 1980's All-Decade team.  He entered the Hall of Fame in 2001.
Ken Whisenhunt (Cardinals)- Whiz played for Georgia Tech in the early eighties, where he achieved first team All-ACC honors during his junior and senior seasons.  Drafted in the 12th round by the Atlanta Falcons, he would last four years as their tight end before stints with the Redskins and Jets.  In all, he spent 9 years playing in the NFL and almost a decade more coaching before taking the head reigns for the Cards in 2007.
Gary Kubiak (Texans)- A member of the Texas High School Football Hall of Fame, Kubiak started behind center for Texas A&M before going on to have the unfortunate position of playing behind John Elway in his nine seasons with the Broncos. 
Ron Rivera (Panthers)- The Panthers head man compiled the then record for sacks and career tackles at UCLA before submitting nine years at linebacker for the one of the all time defenses in the Chicago Bears of the mid-eighties..
Jim Zorn (Chiefs Assistant)- After going undrafted from Cal Poly Pomona, Zorn became the starting QB for the Seahawks from '76-'83, becoming the second player ever inducted into the Seahawks Ring of Honor.  He spent the next three years serving as backup for the Packers, Buccaneers, and Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
Lovie Smith (Bears)- A three-time high school state champion, Smith played college football at Tulsa, where he would garner two All-American nods at linebacker and safety.
Tom Coughlin (Giants)- Coughlin attended Syracuse University where he played running back.  In 1967, he set the school's single-season receiving record.
Sean Payton (Saints)- A journeyman in the truest sense, Payton holds the distinction of being the only athlete to ever start in five different football leagues over the course of just two years. A successful quarterback out of Eastern Illinois, Payton would go on to play in the inaugural season of the Arena Football League in 1987.  He was subsequently sold for $1,000 to the CFL's Ottawa Rough Riders before landing in the NFL as a Chicago "Spare Bear" scab during the '87 player's strike.  Once normal play resumed, Payton fell to the UK Budweiser National League, where he led the Leicester Panthers to the quarterfinals in his first and only year.  However, his journey had just begun.  Payton would ultimately coach at four different colleges and three different NFL teams before finally finding a home with the New Orleans Saints in 2006.
John Fox (Broncos)- Fox was a defensive back at San Diego State under future NFL head coach Herman Edwards.
Norv Turner (Chargers)- Backed up future Hall-of-Famer Dan Fouts for the Oregon Ducks of the early seventies.
Jim Harbaugh (49ers)- An all time Michigan great, Harbaugh excelled under center for the Bears and Colts, the latter electing him to their Ring of Honor for his winning leadership of their mid-nineties clubs.  Despite his success, he is perhaps best remembered around Indianapolis as the guy Peyton Manning replaced.
John Harbaugh (Ravens)- Older brother John was a defensive back at Miami.
Chan Gailey (Bills)- Quarterback at Florida.
Pat Shurmur (Browns)- Co-captained the Rose Bowl Champion 1988 Michigan St. Spartans.
Jason Garrett (Cowboys)- Long time backup to Troy Aikmen during the mid-nineties.
Jim Caldwell (Colts)- Defensive back at Iowa.
Leslie Frazier (Vikings)- Member of the "G Crew" who spent the early '80s as a defensive back with the Bears.  Coaches Frazier, Mike Singletary, Jeff Fisher, and Ron Rivera all received rings as players from the 1985 Super Bowl Champion Bears.
Jim Schwartz (Lions)- Schwartz played four years of linebacker for the Hoyas.
Andy Reid (Eagles)- Offensive guard for BYU.
Mike Shanahan (Redskins)- Quarterbacked at Eastern Illinois until a crushing hit on the practice field ruptured one of his kidney's, causing his heart to stop for over 30 seconds.  Shanahan was so close to death that a Catholic priest was actually summoned to read him his last rites.  Needless to say, that would mark the end of his playing days.
Mike Smith (Falcons)- An All-State linebacker in high school, Smith went on to grab defensive MVP honors twice for East Tennessee State before landing in the CFL for a short stint in 1982.
Rex Ryan (Jets)- Sexy Rexy served as a loyal foot soldier for Southwestern Oklahoma St Bulldogs, playing defensive end opposite his twin brother Rob in 1986.

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Last Updated (Sunday, 19 February 2017 20:34) Written by Ben Pogany
1) Packers- Founded in 1919.
9 league championships, 4 Super Bowls and 9 conference titles.
There is perhaps no city as intimately intertwined with its sports team as Green Bay is with the Packers. The Packers in large part built professional football to what it is today, and the ultimate hardware still bears their patron saint's name.
Wins: 698 (2nd)
All-time Win %: .565 (4th)
Playoff Appearances: 30 (3rd)
Last Championship: 2010
Hall of Famers:
Defining Coach:
Vince Lombardi
The Immortals: Bart Starr, Don Hutson, Reggie White, Brett Favre, Ray Nitschke, Paul Hornung, Forrest Gregg, Tony Canadeo, Henry Jordan, Aaron Rodgers.
2) Steelers- Founded in 1933 as the Pittsburgh Pirates before switching to the Steelers in 1940.
6 Super Bowls and 8 conference titles.
The Steelers were relative late bloomers compared to their contemporaries, but once the Super Bowl era kicked off, the Steel Curtain soon descended upon the NFL.  Owned by the Rooney family since their inception, they ruled the seventies and are now sneaking up on the Patriots for the team of the 21st Century.
Wins: 569 (4th)
All-time Win %: .523 (14th)
Playoff Appearances: 28 (tied for 5th)
Last Championship: 2008
Hall of Famers:
Defining Coach: Chuck Noll
The Immortals: Joe Greene, Terry Bradshaw, Jack Lambert, Franco Harris, Rod Woodson, Lynn Swann, Jack Ham.
3) Patriots-Founded in 1959 as the Boston Patriots before expanding their base to all of New England in 1971.  
5 Super Bowls and 9 conference titles.
A relative newcomer to the football landscape, the Brady/Belichick era has catapulted a once floundering franchise into perennial Super Bowl contenders and good for the third greatest pro football franchise of all time.
Wins: 438 (14th)
All-time Win %: .540 (9th)
Playoff appearances: 21 (16th)
Last Championship: 2017
Hall of Famers:
Defining Coach:
Bill Belichick
The immortals: Tom Brady, John Hannah, Rob Gronkowski, Mike Haynes, Andre Tippet, Adam Vinatieri.
4) Cowboys- Founded in 1960.
5 Super Bowls and 8 conference titles.
Few outside of Dallas would agree that the Cowboys still deserve to be called "America's team." But in truth, what could be more American than amassing wealth, and on that front, no one holds a candle to the Boys.  Jim Jones has built the Cowboys into the most valuable franchise in America, and are second only to Manchester United worldwide. Though playoff wins are few and far between nowadays (and that's an understatement), their ownership of the nineties alone puts them at a solid third place.  
Wins: 464 (13th)
All-time Win %: .571 (2nd)
Playoff appearances: 31 (2nd)
Last Championship: 1995
Hall of Famers:
Defining Coach:
Tom Landry
The Immortals: Bob Lilly, Emmitt Smith, Roger Staubach, Randy White, Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin, Tony Dorsett, Deion Sanders
5) Bears- Founded in 1919 as the Decatur Staleys.
8 league championships, 1 Super Bowl, and 4 conference titles.
Wins: 730 (1st)
All-time Win %: .577 (1st)
Playoff Appearances: 25 (10th)
Last Championship: 1985
Hall of Famers: 31
Defining Coach:
George Halas
The Immortals: Walter Payton, Dick Butkus, Mike Ditka, Bronko Nagurski, Gale Sayers, Sid Luckman, Red Grange, Mike Singletary, Bill George.
6) 49ers- Founded in 1946.
5 Super Bowls and 6 conference titles.
Wins: 545 (6th)
All-time Win %: .558 (5th)
Playoff appearances: 26 (8th)
Last Championship: 1994
Hall of Famers:
Defining Coach:
Bill Walsh
The Immortals: Jerry Rice, Joe Montana, Ronnie Lott, Steve Young, Jimmy Johnson, Leo Nemellini, Roger Craig, Dave Wilcox, John Brodie, Patrick Willis.
7) Giants- Founded in 1925.
4 league championships, 4 Super Bowls and 11 conference titles.
Wins: 661 (3rd)
All-time Win %: .547 (7th)
Playoff appearances: 31 (1st)
Last Championship: 2011
Hall of Famers:
Defining Coach:
Bill Parcells
The Immortals: Lawrence Taylor, Michael Strahan, Emlen Tunnell, Phil Simms, Sam Huff.
8) Browns- Founded in 1946.
8 league championships and 11 conference titles.
Though today's Browns are more synonymous with torture and misery, it might be hard to imagine that at one time the North Coast ruled the football universe. Unfortunately, the Super Bowl era has not been kind to Cleveland.
Wins: 498 (11th)
All-time Win %: .535 (11th)
Playoff Appearances: 28 (4th)
Last Championship: 1964
Hall of Famers: 21
Defining Coach:
Paul Brown
The Immortals: Jim Brown, Otto Graham, Paul Warfield, Lou Groza, Ozzie Newsome.
9) Redskins- Founded in 1932 as the Boston Braves. However, because some perhaps saw the name Braves as being a bit disrespectful towards Native Americans, they changed their moniker to the Redskins a year later. They moved to Washington in 1937, where they've won 2 league championships, 3 Super Bowls and 5 conference titles.
Wins: 565 (5th)
All-time Win %: .509 (16th)
Playoff Appearances: 23 (11th)
Last Championship: 1991
Hall of Famers: 23
Defining Coach:
Joe Gibbs
The Immortals: Sammy Baugh, Joe Theismann, Darrell Green, Sonny Jurgensen.
10) Raiders- Founded in 1960 as the Oakland Senores.
1 league championship, 3 Super Bowls and 4 conference titles.
Wins: 434 (15th)
All-time Win %: .536 (10th)
Playoff appearances: 21 (tied for 14th)
Last Championship: 1983
Hall of Famers: 19
Defining Coach:
Al Davis, John Madden
The immortals: Gene Upshaw, Jim Otto, Art Shell, Marcus Allen, Willie Brown, Ted Hendricks.

Also in the conversation: Broncos, Dolphins, Colts, Rams, Ravens.

Some less-than-flattering distinctions:
--The Cardinals currently possess the longest championship drought in pro football, dating back to 1947. They also have an appalling 716 losses to their credit, almost 100 more than the next most losing team: the Detroit Lions.
--The Vikings, Bengals, and Falcons are the only teams that have existed 40+ years and are still without a championship. In addition, the Eagles, Lions, Titans/Oilers, Chargers, Browns, Bills, Jets, and Chiefs have waited over 40 years since their last championship.
--The Buccaneers are the only team with sub-.400 all time win percentage (.392).
Written by Ben Pogany

"I am not a role model," proclaimed Charles Barkely in the now infamous 1993 Nike Commercial.  "Just because I dunk a basketball, doesn't mean I should raise your kids."  And you know what?  With athletes like these, that's probably a good thing.

  1. OJ Simpson--The white Ford Bronco, the bloody glove, the "if it doesn't fit, you must acquit."  Arguably the most sensational trial in American history, OJ walked away from a double murder a free man.  However, karma is a bitch and the Juice is currently serving a 33-year prison sentence for a 2007 Las Vegas robbery.
  2. Michael Vick--In 2007, evidence of the dog-fighting ring known as "Bad Newz Kennels" was uncovered at a property owned by Vick in Virginia.  Vick was later accused of electrocuting, beating, and strangling the dogs in addition to directly financing the operation.  He ended up serving 18 months
  3. Tonya Harding--In 1994, Harding's ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly, and her bodyguard, Shawn Eckhardt, hired Shane Stant to strike rival figure skater Nancy Kerrigan on the knee. Harding went on to win the US figure skating championship while Kerrigan was forced to withdraw due to her injury.  Tonya insisted that she had attempted to prevent the planned attack, even going so far as to say that when she attempted to call the FBI, her ex threatened to kill her following a gunpoint gang rape by Gillooly and two other men.  However, nobody bought it and Harding was eventually stripped of her title and banned from the US Figure Skating Association for life.  Harding has since release an utterly horrific sex-tape (so I'm told) and beaten up Paula Jones on the short-lived Fox experiment Celebrity Boxing.
  4. Mike Tyson--Though arrested 38 times by age 13, the crime that really shook the sports world was his alleged rape of 18-year-old Miss Black Rhode Island Desiree Washington in 1991. Iron Mike served 3 of his 6-year prison term before being released, going on bite the ears of grown men, rack up a slew of DUI and drug charges, and care for his pigeons.  (He owned over 350 at one point)
  5. Adam "PacMan" Jones--In 2007, during NBA All-Star Weekend in Las Vegas, as Pac Man and rapper Nelly "made it rain" on several strippers at the club Minxx, Jones became enraged when one girl began collecting some of the money without his permission.  Like any upstanding gentleman, Pac Man grabbed the stripper by her hair and slammed her head on the stage.  During the ensuing scuffle with security, Jones threatened one of the guards' lives.  Later that evening, a member of Jones' entourage returned to the club and fired several shots into a crowd, twice hitting the guard whom Pac Man had threatened and also ultimately paralyzing former professional wrestler Tommy Urbanski. Jones pleaded no contest to one charge of conspiracy to commit disorderly conduct and was given a suspended prison sentence of one year, probation,and ordered to perform 200 hours of community service.
  6. Rae Carruth--In 1999, the former Panther receiver allegedly blocked the car of Cherica Adams, his girlfriend and baby-mama to-be while another car drove alongside and opened fire on the woman, killing her. Carruth was eventually found by police hiding in the trunk of a car outside a motel in Tennessee alongside $3,900 in cash, bottles to hold his urine, extra clothes, candy bars, and a cell phone.  He was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder and is currently serving a prison sentence of 18-24 years.
  7. Nate Newton--In 2001, police found 213 pounds of marijuana in Nasty Nate's van.  Unbelievably, five weeks later, while out on bail, Nate again had a run in with the police, this time with only a mere 175 pounds of pot in his possession.  The six-time pro-bowl offensive lineman was given 30 months in the slammer and has reportedly renounced his old ways.
  8. Ugueth UrbinaIn 2005, this former Sox reliever was accused of attacking five of his Venezuelan farm hands with both a machete and by pouring gasoline on them.  He is currently serving 14 years in prison for attempted murder.
  9. Riddick Bowe--In 1998, the former heavyweight champ was convicted of kidnapping his wife and children, driving them from North Carolina to Maryland, and then threatening his wife with a knife, handcuffs, duct tape and pepper spray. Bowe actually got off with 30 days by claiming that he had suffered brain damage as a result of repeated blows to the head.  However, this ridiculous decision was eventually overturned and he served 17 months in prison.
  10. Plaxico Burress--Talk about adding insult to injury.  Guy shoots himself in the leg, then gets thrown in jail for two years all because he didn't have a permit for the weapon. Coming from someone who literally had his heart broken by Plax, I'll be the first to say this is beyond ridiculous.  Donte Stallworth kills someone in a drunk driving accident and gets off with a few months, while at the same time Plaxico gets two years for shooting himself??  Horrific crime it was not.  But sensational?  Very.

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Written by Ben Pogany
  1. Breaking Bad (2008-2013) AMC   Created by Vince Gilligan. Walter White is a high school chemistry teacher turned meth cook, and if that sounds weird just consider that this is also the guy who played the dad in Malcolm in the Middle.  Breaking Bad sets its self apart from any other show in that it introduces a hero and slowly transforms him in a villain, who in the process brings down every person around him.  Whether or not there is anything left in the character of Walter White to root for may be forever up for debate.  The quality of Bryan Cranston's depiction of him is not, as the guy who once asked for a "shtickle of fluoride" is now turning in some of the best acting on television.
  2. The Wire (2002-2008) HBO Created by David Simon. The Wire is television perfection, and if it's not the greatest series of all time it certainly is the most under-appreciated.  How this never was even nominated for an Emmy is beyond all rationale.  The Wire takes a brutal look at various aspects of life in Baltimore, exploring with harsh realism the interweaving worlds of street life, politics, education, poverty, law enforcement, and the media.  What emerges is the sobering realization that from the drug cartels to the fractured bureaucracy tasked with combating them, all are players in the same game, mirrors of one another in a vicious cycle of ambition, dysfunction, and moral compromise.
  3. Mad Men (2007-2015) AMC Created by Matthew Weiner.    Mad Men is like watching literature in hourly installments, replete with incisive symbolism and complex subtleties.  It follows Don Draper, ad man extraordinaire inhabiting the world of 1960's Madison Avenue, a world of rampant smoking, drinking, and philandering.  However, Mad Men is not so much a period piece as it is a series of character studies.  Weiner seems to intimate that we all are searching for something to fill the void, whether it be that new car seen in a magazine, the next promotion, or woman at the end of the bar.  Ultimately, when we run from ourselves we just end up out of breath.
  4. The Sopranos (1999-2007) HBO Created by David Chase.   Long before The Jersey Shore was offending the sensibilities of Italians and Jerseyans everywhere, it was the Soprano family representing the Garden State.  The Sopranos demonstrated what was truly possible for the television medium, raising production up to an almost cinematic level that single-handedly ushered in the era of premium television.   Making that HBO subscription all but mandatory, it stands as the most financially successful program in cable history.  Compiling 21 Emmys over six seasons, the Sopranos finally signed off in 2007 in a finale that can only be described as                                 .
  5. Law and Order (1990-2010) NBC Created by Dick Wolf.   The show that inspired a million law degrees and almost as many spinoffs.  The first half police investigation, second half trial format was originally conceived to increase the show's chances at syndication by giving broadcasters the option of splitting the episodes into half-hour airings.  Fortunately, winning syndication was never a problem for this mega franchise, and it's probably not far off to say that at any one moment, an episode of Law and Order is airing somewhere.
  6. The West Wing  (1999-2006) NBC Created by Aaron Sorkin.   Just where do you think Charlie got that Adonis DNA from anyway?  Papa Sheen is brilliant as Commander-in-Chief Josiah Bartlet, presiding over a series that would collect an astounding four consecutive best drama Emmys in its heyday.  Taking on an array of real world issues, from the Israeli conflict to DOMA to North Korean nuclear ambitions, the West Wing is as relevant today as it was over a decade ago.
  7. Game of Thrones (2011-Present) HBO  Created by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss
  8. Lost (2004-2010) ABC Created by JJ Abrams
  9. NYPD Blue (1993-2005) ABC Created by Steven Bochco and David Milch
  10. 24 (2001-2010) FOX Created by Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran.    The way 24 plummeted after Season 5, it's hard to remember just how riveting those early seasons really were. There was always a certain degree of suspension of disbelief necessary with 24, but a guy can only go rogue, do the "there's no time to explain" routine, and end up saving the world so many times before things just descend into the ridiculous.  Still, Jack Bauer was a hero for the new millennium, and just think, would we have ever had Barack if not for David Palmer paving the way?
  11. ER (1994-2009) NBC Created by Michael Crichton.    Did for doctors what Law and Order did for lawyers.  Its 124 Emmy nominations are the most in television history and its introduction of George Clooney into the public consciousness (notwithstanding the cinematic masterpiece Return of the Killer Tomatoes) is something we can surely all be thankful for.
  12. Dexter (2006-2013) Showtime Based on the novel Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay and developed by James Manos, Jr.     When Dexter hit TV screens in 2006, all the world needed was another show about a crime scene forensic.  However, when that forensic just happens to moonlight as a sociopathic killer of bad guys, things start to diverge from your average episode of CSI. Think Robin Hood as a hopeless kleptomaniac, channeling his uncontrollable inner demons into a public good.  Fun fact: Michael C. Hall met his now ex-wife Jennifer Carpenter (Deb) on the set of Dexter, effectively marrying his sister.
  13. Six Feet Under (2001-2005) HBO Created by Alan Ball.   Ironic that a show that revolves around death can penetrate with such poignancy what it means to be alive.  This time Michael C. Hall plays a gay funeral director, running the Fisher and Sons funeral home in Los Angeles (what creator Alan Ball calls "the world capital of the denial of death") with brother Nate and partner Rico.  Also in the picture are sister Claire, mother Ruth, and a host of significant others.  All are eccentric, often demented, and always real, sometimes painfully so. Dealing with death on a daily basis is no easy gig.  Dealing with life might very well be harder.
  14. The X-Files (1993-2002) FOX Created by Chris Carter
  15. Oz (1997-2003) HBO Created by Tom Fontana. HBO's first ever one-hour drama illustrated just how "not just TV" HBO truly was, presenting prison life with gritty, often cringe-worthy realism that spoke to themes all-to-relatable to us civilians. Thirteen actors that originally appeared in Oz went on to appear in The Wire, so it goes without saying how I feel about this one.

Best Right Now: Fargo, Mr. Robot, The Leftovers, Better Call Saul, The Knick
Written by Ben Pogany
  1. New York Yankees: In 1920, Babe Ruth joined the New York Yankees. In the 90 years that would follow, the pinstripes would appear in what would feel like almost every other World Series hence, en route to a mind-boggling 27 championships. The Bombers have sent enough brass to Cooperstown that they could open their own wing; 44 players enshrined to date with at least a handful more assuredly on their way. Key 5: Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe Dimaggio, Mickey Mantle, Derek Jeter.
  2. Boston Celtics: The Celtics have been piling up hardware ever since Auerbach and Russell began their epic run of 11 championships in 13 years way back when.  Today, the Green Men's 17 championships is tops in the NBA. A ridiculous 33 men with Celtic ties are enshrined in Springfield. Key 5: Bill Russell, Larry Bird, John Havlicek, Bob Cousy, Paul Pierce.
  3. Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers: The absurdly inapt name isn't the only thing the Purple and Gold carried over from the "Land of 10,000 Lakes." Though they got whipped by #2 for much of the sixties, its hard to argue that since 1980, the Lakers have reigned supreme.  Their 31 finals appearances is just plain stupid nasty, and at 16 championships, it may not be long before their cross-country rivals get overtaken.  Key 5: Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jerry West, Gail Goodrich, Kobe Bryant.
  4. Montreal Canadiens: Though the Habs have been looking more like the Hab-nots as of late, history is clearly on their side.  Canada's finest have won an astounding 24 championships, essentially a quarter of all Stanley Cups won throughout history. They've also sent a stupefying 44 members to the Hall of Fame. Key 5: Guy Lafleur, Jean Beliveau, Henri Richard, Maurice Richard, Patrick Roy.
  5. UCLA Bruins Men's Basketball: Behind arguably the greatest coach that ever lived, UCLA epitomized dominance in the sixties and seventies en route to an overall 11 national championships and 30 conference titles.  After falling out of favor for much of the eighties and nineties, the Bruins seized back their prominence under Ben Howland with 3 consecutive final four appearances from 2006-2008. Key 5: Lew Alcindor, Bill Walton, Gail Goodrich, Ed O'Bannon, Sidney Wicks.
  6. Brazilian National Soccer Team: In the world of international soccer, Brazil is the gold standard-bar none. Of the 18 World Cups that have been held, Brazil has starred in seven finals, capturing a whopping five Cups. They've also raked in three Confederations Cups and eight Copa America Cups to boot. Key Five: Pele, Ronaldo, Garrincha, Zico, Rivaldo, Kaka.
  7. Alabama Crimson Tide Football: UCLA had John Wooden, Notre Dame had Knute Rockne, and Alabama had one Paul "Bear" Bryant." From '58-'82, Bear took the Tide to six of their fifteen (again, this is up for debate) national championships. Over their 114-year history, Alabama Football has captured 27 conference titles and appeared in more bowl games than any other NCAA school with 59. Perhaps their most mind-boggling statistic was somehow managing to go 113 years before finally producing a Heisman winner in Mark Ingram. Key 5: Bart Starr, Joe Namath, John Hannah, Don Hutson, Ozzie Newsome.
  8. Notre Dame Fightin' Irish Football: Though the glory days of Notre Dame football are behind us (last championship was 1988), the Fightin' Irish will always hold a special place in college football lore. Notre Dame leads all schools with 48 alumni in the College Football Hall of Fame, and positively churns out NFL talent like few others, having produced nearly 500 NFL draft selections and ten Pro Football Hall-of-Famers (Did someone say Joe Montana?). Though national championships are always a bit murky to conclusively determine pre-BCS era (and even post, sadly enough) many credit the school with 13 national championships. Key 5: Joe Montana, Alan Page, Tim Brown, Paul Hornung, Curly Lambeau.
  9. Soviet National Hockey Team: When most of us think of the Soviet National Ice Hockey Team, one phrase comes to mind, “Do you believe in miracles?!!” Well believe me when I tell you that that win for the Americans was a miracle and then some. From the mid-fifties to the early-nineties (when the communist empire crumbled), Soviet hockey ruled with an iron fist, winning just about everything there was to win for an international hockey team including seven gold medals over nine Olympics and another 19 golds at the World Championships. Key 5: Vladislav Tretiak, Vyacheslav Fetisov, Valeri Kharlamov, Sergei Makarov, Aleksandr Maltsev.
  10. Tennessee Lady Vols: Though the UConn women are all the rage today, when it comes to women's college hoops, one school stands above all the rest, Pat Summit's Lady Vols. In the 29 March tournaments that have taken place, the white and orange have appeared in 27 Sweet Sixteens, an astounding 18 Final Fours, and have won eight championships. Key 5: Holly Warwick, Bridgette Gordon, Deadra Charles, Chamique Holdsclaw, Tamika Catchings.

-----------------------------Honorable Mentions: -------------------------------------
Green Bay Packers, USC Trojans Football, UNC Tarheels Women's Soccer, Iowa Hawkeyes Wrestling, Pittsburgh Steelers, UCLA Rugby, Duke Blue Devils Basketball, Chicago Bulls, St. Louis Cardinals, Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, Toronto Maple Leafs, USC Trojans Baseball, Detroit Red Wings, UConn Huskies Women's Basketball, USA National Men's Basketball, Juventus, Michigan Wolverine Hockey, AC Milan, Manchester United, Kentucky Wildcats, Oklahoma St Cowboys Wrestling, Texas Longhorns Baseball.

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Written by Ben Pogany

With the advent of the digital music revolution, your favorite tunes are now more accessible than ever.  However, as with every great advancement, there are bound to be certain things that get left behind.  With the iPod came the demise of the album.  Now that fans can pick and choose which songs they want to download off a new release, there is less and less of a need to create that cohesive, quality from top-to-bottom record.

Perhaps even more apparent is the antiquation of the album cover.  Back in the day (not that I was actually alive for most of this but...) a record was something to behold.  Often, it was just as much art on the outside as was contained within the grooves of the vinyl.  While there are certainly a couple groups out there still keeping it real with the album art, for the most part this is a lost craft--a casualty of the digital revolution.

What makes album cover art iconic?  Well for starters, it is instantly recognizable.  The image it displays symbolizes the band itself, or even better, music in general.  It is simple, yet profound--worthy of being displayed on the back of a bumper, or framed in one's living room.  Of course, art is going to speak to every person differently, and I am not here to tell you what art was most visually stunning or held the most meaning.  Rather, these are the ten most iconic album covers of all time.

  1. Pink Floyd- Dark Side of the Moon-In March of 1973 Dark Side of the Moon was released.  741 weeks later, it remained on the Billboard charts, longer than any other album in history. With an estimated 45 million units sold, Dark Side may be the greatest album ever (without a doubt in my humble opinion...)  Exploring the issues of aging, greed, war, and the mental illness that was inspired by Syd Barret's LSD-fueled descent into madness, the album was one of the first concept albums to ever hit record stores.  The landmark prism design was inspired by a photograph that longtime Floyd designer Strom Thorgerson had seen during a brainstorming session with colleague Aubrey Powell. Meeting Richard Wright's request for a "simple and bold" design, the prism also harkened to the band's famous stage lighting.  It has since come to epitomize the word "iconic."
  2. The Beatles- Abbey Road- On the morning of August 8, 1969, photographer Iain Macmillan was given ten minutes to take a photo of the fab four crossing Abbey Road for the band's next album cover.  Little did he know that that negative would go on to become perhaps the most iconic group shot in all of music.  A couple points of interest:
    --Paul McCartney is bare-footed and out of step with the other three, later providing fuel for the "Paul is dead" urban legend in late '69.
    --The man standing on the pavement in the background is Paul Cole, an American tourist unaware he had been photographed until he saw the album cover months later. 
    --The Abbey Road cover is the only Beatles album cover of their original UK albums to have neither the group's name nor an album title visible.
  3. Queen- Queen II- It's hard to believe now, but when Queen II dropped in '74, critics were less than impressed.  Record Mirror wrote: "This is it, the dregs of glam rock. Weak and over-produced, if this band are our brightest hope for the future, then we are committing rock and roll suicide."  The reviewer for Melody Maker expressed similar sentiments, writing: "It's reputed Queen have enjoyed some success in the States, it's currently in the balance whether they'll really break through here. If they do, then I'll have to eat my hat or something. Maybe Queen try too hard, there's no depth of sound or feeling."  So how'd that hat end up going down, hot shot?
  4. The Grateful Dead- Steal Your Face- To be clear, this is not a list of great albums (though all but this one are admittedly classics).  If it were, this selection would be nowhere near the top 10, not even if this was a list of Grateful Dead albums.  Widely considered to be the Dead's worst live album, the record was dubbed "Steal Your Money" by unhappy fans.  However, the image adorning its cover would go on to grace a billion bumper stickers and T-shirts, becoming almost synonymous with the hippie culture at large.  Designed by Owsley Stanley and artist Bob Thomas.
  5. The Velvet Underground- Simple. Artful. Iconic.  Designed by close friend Andy Warhol, the original record sleeve featured a yellow banana with “Peel slowly and see” printed near a perforated tab. Those who did remove the banana skin found a peeled, pink banana beneath.
  6. The Beatles- Sgt Peppers- The Grammy Award-winning album packaging was art-directed by Robert Fraser, designed by Peter Blake and his wife Jann Haworth, and photographed by Michael Cooper. The collage depicts more than 70 famous, well, icons, including writers, musicians, film stars and several Indian gurus. The final grouping includes Marlene Dietrich, Carl Jung, W.C. Fields, Diana Dors, Bob Dylan, Marilyn Monroe, Aldous Huxley, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Sigmund Freud, Aleister Crowley, Edgar Allan Poe, Karl Marx, Oscar Wilde, William S. Burroughs, Marlon Brando, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, and comedian Lenny Bruce. Also included was the image of the original Beatles bass player, the late Stuart Sutcliffe. Adolf Hitler, Mahatma Gandhi, and Jesus Christ were requested by Lennon, but ultimately they were left out, even though a cutout of Hitler was in fact made.  The final bill for the cover was £2,868 (equivalent to $72,460 today), which was roughly 100 times the average cost for an album cover in those days. 
  7. Nirvana- Nevermind- Kurt Cobain conceived the idea for this cover while watching a television show on water births with drummer David Grohl. Cobain mentioned it to Geffen's art director Robert Fisher, who found some stock footage of underwater births that were then deemed too graphic for the record company. Instead Fisher sent a photographer to a pool to take pictures of a three-month-old infant named Spencer Elden, the son of the photographer's friend Rick Elden. Geffen prepared an alternate cover without the penis but relented when Cobain made it clear that the only compromise he would accept was a sticker covering the penis that would say, "If you're offended by this, you must be a closet pedophile."
  8. Bob Marley- Catch A Fire- Perhaps it's a tad ironic that the lucky 20,000 to first get their hands on this 1973 vinyl release receiveded an album that was in fact missing this landmark Bob headshot.  These folks instead received their record encased in a Zippo lighter sleeve.  The sleeve opened at a side hinge to reveal the record within, an assembly operation that required hand-manufacture.  Not surprisingly, the Zippo idea was deemed too expensive to mass-produce and subsequent pressings featured the Ester Anderson portrait you see here.
  9. Jimi Hendrix- Axis: Bold a Love- For all the accolades this famous cover has received, Jimi Hendrix was actually a little disappointed with the finished product. Although he appreciated the symbolic design, he mentioned in an interview that it would have been more appropriate if the cover art showcased his American "Indian" heritage. The British Track records' art department had independently chosen to use the current fad for all things Indian to create the cover, and thus the album's cover has a photographed copy of a cheap, mass produced religious poster of the Hindu devotional painting known as Viraat Purushan-Vishnuroopam showing the different forms of Vishnu with a small, superimposed painting of the Experience by Roger Law blended in.
  10. The Rolling Stones- Sticky Fingers- Andy Warhol appears yet again in the top ten with his work here for the Stones' Sticky Fingers.  The original record cover featured a working zipper that opened to reveal a man in cotton briefs.  The cover, a photo of Joe Dallesandro's crotch clad in tight blue jeans, was assumed by many fans to be an image of Mick Jagger. However, the people actually involved with the photo shoot claim that Warhol had several different men photographed (Jagger was not among them) and never revealed which shots he used.  The album also features the first usage of the "Tongue and Lip Design" designed by John Pasche.

Honorable Mentions:  Allman Brothers- Eat a Peach, Led Zeppelin- IV, Jimi Hendrix- Are You Experienced?, The Who- Who's Next?, Cream- Disraeli Gears, Pink Floyd- Wish You Were Here, The Doors- The Doors, Led Zeppelin- I, Santana- Abraxas, The Beatles- Let It Be, Lynyrd Skynyrd- Street Survivors, Peter Frampton- Frampton Comes Alive, The Harder They Come Soundtrack, Parliament- Mothership Connection, Notorious BIG- Ready To Die, Nas- Illmatic, Public Enemy- Nation of Millions.

Written by Ben Pogany
Definitive Dose presents the 50 best directors working in Hollywood today.
  1. Martin Scorsese: Goodfellas, Raging Bull, Taxi Driver, The Departed, Mean Streets, Gangs of New York, Casino, Shutter Island, The Last Waltz, The Wolf of Wall Street, Cape Fear, The Color of Money, The Last Temptation of Christ, The Aviator, The Age of Innocence.
  2. Steven Spielberg: Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan, Raiders of the Lost Ark, E:T: The Extra Terrestrial, Jaws, Lincoln, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Jurassic Park, Poltergeist, Catch Me if You Can, Minority Report, The Color Purple, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Amistad, Munich.
  3. Francis Ford Coppola: The Godfather, The Godfather II, Apocalypse Now, The Conversation, You're A Big Boy Now.
  4. Christopher Nolan: Dunkirk, Memento, The Dark Knight, The Prestige, Inception, Interstellar, Batman Begins, Insomnia.
  5. Joel/Ethan Cohen: No Country For Old Men, The Big Lebowski, Fargo, O Brother Where Art Thou?, Barton Fink, Miller's Crossing, Raising Arizona, True Grit, The Man Who Wasn't There, Blood Simple, A Serious Man, The Hudsucker Proxy.
  6. P.T. Anderson: There Will Be Blood, Boogie Nights, Magnolia, The Master, Punch-Drunk Love.
  7. Quentin Tarantino: Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, Jackie Brown, Django Unchained, Kill Bill, Inglourious Basterds.
  8. James Cameron: Terminator 2, Avatar, Titanic, Aliens, The Abyss.
  9. David Fincher: Se7en, Fight Club, Zodiac, The Social Network, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.
  10. Alejandro González Iñárritu: The Revenant, 21 Grams, Birdman, Amores Perros, Babel.
  11. Roman Polanski: Chinatown, Rosemary's Baby, The Pianist, Tess, Pirates.
  12. Darren Aronofsky: Requiem For a Dream, The Wrestler, Black Swan, Pi, The Fountain.
  13. Woody Allen: Annie Hall, Bullets Over Broadway, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Hannah and Her Sisters, The Purple Rose of Cairo.
  14. Oliver Stone: Platoon, Wall Street, JFK, Born on the Fourth of July, Natural Born Killers.
  15. Clint Eastwood: Unforgiven, Million Dollar Baby, The Outlaw Josey Wales, Mystic River, The Bridges of Madison County.
  16. Ridley Scott: Alien, Gladiator, Blade Runner, Black Hawk Down, The Martian, Thelma and Louise, American Gangster.
  17. Robert Zemeckis: Forrest Gump, Back to the Future, Cast Away, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Romancing the Stone.
  18. Peter Jackson: The Return of the King, The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, King Kong, The Lovely Bones.
  19. David Lynch: Blue Velvet, Mulholland Drive, The Elephant Man, Wild at Heart, The Straight Story.
  20. Milos Forman: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Amadeus, The People vs. Larry Flynt, Ragtime, Man on the Moon.
  21. Terrence Malick: The Thin Red Line, Badlands, The Tree of Life, Days of Heaven.
  22. Steven Soderbergh: Traffic, Ocean's Eleven, Erin Brockovich, Che, Out of Sight.
  23. Brian De Palma: Scarface, Carlito's Way, Mission: Impossible, The Untouchables, Carrie.
  24. Ang Lee: Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Brokeback Mountain, Life of Pi, Sense and Sensibility, The Ice Storm.
  25. David Cronenberg: A History of Violence, The Fly, Eastern Promises, Dead Ringers, Videodrome.
  26. Tim Burton: Edward Scissorhands, Beetlejuice, Ed Wood, Batman, Big Fish.
  27. Wes Anderson: The Royal Tenenbaums, Rushmore, Moonrise Kingdom, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Fantastic Mr. Fox.
  28. George Lucas: Star Wars: A New Hope, American Graffiti, TXH 1138, The Phantom Menace, Revenge of the Sith.
  29. Terry Giliam: Monty Python and the Holy Grail, 12 Monkeys, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Brazil, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.
  30. Michael Mann: Heat, The Insider, The Last of the Mohicans, Collateral, Manhunter.
  31. Gus Van Sant: Good Will Hunting, Milk, Finding Forrester, Drugstore Cowboy, Elephant.
  32. David O. Russell: American Hustle, The Fighter, Three Kings, Silver Linings Playbook, Flirting With Disaster.
  33. Edward Zwick: Glory, Blood Diamond, Courage Under Fire, The Last Samurai, The Siege.
  34. Sam Mendes: American Beauty, Road to Perdition, Revolutionary Road, Skyfall, Jarhead.
  35. John Carpenter: Halloween, The Thing, Assault on Precinct 13, The Fog, Big Trouble in Little China.
  36. Sydney Pollack: Out of Africa, Tootsie, Jeremiah Johnson, They Shoot Horses Don't They?, The Way We Were.
  37. Barry Levinson: Rain Man, Good Morning Vietnam, The Natural, Sleepers, Bugsy.
  38. Ron Howard: A Beautiful Mind, Cinderella Man, Frost/Nixon, Cocoon, Apollo 13.
  39. Alfonso Cuaron: Children of Men, Gravity, Y Tu Mama Tambien, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, A Little Princess.
  40. Danny Boyle: Slumdog Millionaire, Trainspotting, Steve Jobs, 127 Hours, 28 Weeks Later.
  41. Richard Linklater: Boyhood, Dazed and Confused, Slacker, Before Sunset, Everybody Wants Some!!.
  42. Steve McQueen: 12 Years a Slave, Hunger, Shame.
  43. Peter Weir: Witness, Master and Commander, The Truman Show, Dead Poets Society, Green Card.
  44. Curtis Hanson: L.A. Confidential, The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, 8 Mile, Wonder Boys, Too Big To Fail.
  45. Kathryn Bigelow: The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty, Strange Days.
  46. Ben Affleck: Argo, Gone Baby Gone, The Town.
  47. Spike Lee: Malcolm X, Clockers, Do the Right Thing, Inside Man, 25th Hour.
  48. Rob Reiner: A Few Good Men, This is Spinal Tap, Stand By Me, The Princess Bride, Misery.
  49. Alexander Payne: The Descendants, Election, Nebraska, Sideways, About Schmidt.
  50. Bennet Miller: Foxcatcher, Capote, Moneyball.

*Best Director Academy Award winners in italics

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