Wednesday, December 28, 2011


We'll call this one 'Great Moments In "Real Man" History' (Or, 'They Are Who We Thought They Were!')

What are the greatest moments in "Real Man" history? Well, there are plenty, and everyone will have their own favorite. If it were possible for a "Real Man" to slap a girl around and make my list of 'Great Moments In "Real Man" History', then I would surely be listing the time Senator Joseph McCarthy earned an Elgin watch "for combat...above and beyond the call of duty" by slapping Drew Pearson around in a cloakroom.

But I guess I'll just stick with the National Football League for now.

Less than two weeks ago, I posted a blog bit celebrating the fact that the Kansas City Chiefs, in a major and unpredictable upset, defeated the Green Bay Packers, ensuring that for at least one more year, the 1972 Miami Dolphins - the team I idolized in my boyhood - would remain the only unbeaten and untied team to win a Super Bowl. (Which is not, by any means, to say that I am conceding this year's championship to the Packers; I am not ready to "crown their asses".)

Two of my favorite "Real Man" moments are tied in with that 1972 Dolphins team.


Throughout his career, [Larry] Csonka played fullback like a horse ploughs a field: doggedly, with a high pain threshold and with great determination.
~ John Doremus

My favorite player on that Dolphins team was Larry Csonka; I loved the way he ran through and over defenders, and I dreamed of being the next Csonka. But then I stopped growing, encountered more athletically gifted dudeguys than myself, and came to realize that I was never tough enough to be another Csonka anyway. (Besides, all that football playing would have damaged my fingers and interfered with my violin lessons.)

But this brief video below will give you a basic idea of why I loved "The Zonk" and wrote his number 39 on everything I owned:

Miami Dolphins Larry Csonka

Link to a mo' bigger screen:

Csonka makes my 'Greatest Moments In "Real Man" History' list by virtue of the fact that he is the only NFL ballcarrier to ever be flagged for "Unnecessary Roughness" against a tackler!  

Larry Csonka - Unnecessary roughness while running w/ the football

Link to a mo' bigger screen:

However, in my book, 'The Greatest Moment In "Real Man" History' - not just in the NFL but anywhere ever - belongs to my second favorite player on that '72 Dolphins team: Manny Fernandez.


Manny Fernandez, in my opinion, is the only defensive lineman in the history of the National Football League that can get into a nest of alligators and come out with an alligator... unscathed! Where do you find people like that?
~ Larry Csonka

In my DVD set 'America's Game: The Super Bowl Champions - 1972/1973 Miami Dolphins' there is a segment showing that during his down time, Manny Fernandez liked to go out into the Florida Everglades and catch alligators.

On the DVD, we are treated to some footage of Manny and his Florida buddies doing exactly that. Manny reaches into a swampy spot and pulls an alligator out by its tail.

Is that "Real Man" enough for ya? (I sure as hell wouldn't try something like that, as alligator's can be hazardous to violin-playing fingers!)

But what actually elevates that manly Manny act to GREATEST Moment In "Real Man" history is the fact that while Manny is capturing that alligator with his bare hands, he's wearing shades and he has a cigarette dangling from his lips! Ha! Yeah, it's no big deal to Manny - just another relaxing day in the swamp . . .

["Don't you make me drop my cigarette, boy!"]

You can watch the cigarette-smokin' Manny pull an alligator out of the swamp by fast-forwarding to the 18:30 mark in the video below:

1972 Miami Dolphins

Link to a mo' bigger screen:

And finally, here's a brief video with both "Real Men" - Manny & The Zonk! - reminiscing about what that undefeated 1972 Dolphins season meant (and still means) to them:

Miami Dolphins - Perfect Season

Link to a mo' bigger screen:

Well, thanks for readin' 'n' watchin'.

I gotta go practice my violin lesson now or my teacher, she gonna rap me on the wrist with my bow, and that really hurts!

~ Stephen T. McCarthy

YE OLDE COMMENT POLICY: All comments, pro and con, are welcome. However, ad hominem attacks and disrespectful epithets will not be tolerated (read: "posted"). After all, this isn’t, so I don’t have to put up with that kind of bovine excrement.


YeamieWaffles said...

Ah man I love all of these videos, that perfect season is just amazing.

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

Thanks, MATTHEW. Glad ya enjoyed them.

I don't actually pay a whole lot of attention to professional football anymore, but that Dolphin team is a link to my wonderful childhood and so it has sentimental value to me.

The first NFL game I ever attended was a preseason game my Pa took me to in 1973 to see the Dolphins play our local team, the Los Angeles Rams (who long ago moved to Saint Louis).

So, when I think of the Dolphins, I also think of my Pa, who passed away in 1996. Lots of fond memories tied to the Miami Dolphins football team for me.

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Missed Periods said...

You forgot to mention that Manny handled the alligator while wearing shades, smoking a ciggy AND getting a rap on the wrist with a violin bow.

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

...all while humming the song "Feelings" with great, great... uh... feeling.

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

farawayeyes said...

No comments on the 'Real Men of the NFL',except Manny and that alligator is well...I'm not sure what it is.

About Bodie,CA - sorry I didn't get back to you. I have never been there, but just a few days ago somebody mentioned it to me and I saw pictures or I dreamed it (that's a real scary thought). Anyway...I was trying to find the pictures and recollect who was talking about it before I got back to you. I'll keep looking and let you know.

You tell me more about it, if you care.

Also, about that second comment, check your email. Spam folder maybe. I had to send it twice, so the second went out as a forward, because I botched the address. If it went to a stranger,their figuring I'm stranger than most.

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

>>..."except Manny and that alligator is well...I'm not sure what it is."

I'm pretty sure "macho" is the word you're searching for.

Bodie... well, not much to say, just do an "images" search on Google and you'll see for yourself. It's a great ghost town!

If you dig the Old West, two excellent books are "Gunfighters, Highwaymen & Vigilantes" by Roger McGrath, and "Whiskey, Six-guns & Red-light Ladies: George Hand's Saloon Diary, Tucson, 1875-1878" edited by Neil Carmony. And, of course, Mark Twain's classic, "Roughing It", which is one of the funniest books I've ever read.

Yep, I found your Email in my InBox and will reply quickly. Thanks.

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Karen Peterson said...

Catching an alligator with his bare hands while keeping a lit cigarette in his mouth? There just aren't enough men like that.

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

You are SO RIGHT!

And I freely confess that I ain't one of the few.

In fact, I ain't entirely convinced there even is "a few". Manny might stand alone. And that, of course, is why he gets my "Greatest Moment In 'Real Man' History" award.

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Sheboyganboy 6 said...

You are correct, sir! You kindly got me to view this video a couple of years ago, and those guys were TOUGH! It's funny, because as a kid I saw the Dolpins several times in person in 67-68-69 when they played the Chargers. I didn't think of them as particularly tough. They always put up a good fight, but we always won.

Having seen this video of Manny in particular, I gained a new appreciation of my just how wimpy I am and was. I am sure that the Chargers had some tough guys too, but it is hard to imagine any as manly as Csonka Kiick and Manny.

I think that in most ways ALL the tough guys from that era were tougher than those from this. Ray Nitschke, Dick Butkus, and Jim Brown are the obvious old guys that come to mind. Those guys played dirty and tough and hard, and frankly, had far less medical remedies for injuries than our current crop. Current ones are very tough, too, but they are getting paid millions to put up with some pain and then they immediate expert medical care.

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

SBB 6 ~
I couldn't agree with ya more. These guys today may be bigger, and faster, and - in some cases - stronger, but they damn sure are not TOUGHER!

There are only a handful playing today who I believe are in the same "toughness" league that ALL of the Old School players were in.

It’s the same with the population in general. When one knows a bit about history and considers the pioneers who settled this land in comparison to the masses today... oh, sheesh! We are SO soft, pampered, and spoiled that we don’t even rise to the level of a blister on the butt of an American West sodbuster or his pioneer homemaker wife!

And then think about those dudes who played football even FURTHER back, with leather helmets and NO facemasks. Back when football was more of an alley brawl than a game.

Nowadays, a defensive lineman touches a quarterback one-tenth of a second after he has released the ball and the lineman is flagged for unnecessary roughness. In a lot of ways, it’s become a game for... uh... a female body part.

But, hey, I will give your Chargers one (although he arrived a little later)... Dan Fouts was as tough a quarterback as has ever played the game. It seems that I never saw him that some blood wasn’t running down his face. He spent a lot of time on the turf, but he always got back to his feet and slung the sh#t out of that pigskin.

One of the best and most underrated quarterbacks ever, in my opinion.

Yak later, Sixbro.

~ D-FensDogg
‘Loyal American Underground’