Written By Jason Voorhees
It's just another day at the local supermarket except it's not.
Yes the buildings are the same. The employees still have the same job functions...namely stocking the shelves, servicing the customers and providing excellent customer service. Yes, the latest edition of elevator music continues to echo on loop over the system sound speakers. And yes, the latest deliveries still arrive on an almost daily basis, carrying it's most precious cargo to fit the latest needs of today's shoppers' wish lists.
Let me repeat, its just another day at the local supermarket except it's not. While many of the above characteristics remain a staple of these employee's every day work lives, the very existence of their true identity has been turned upside down. As COVID-19 Corona Virus continues to wreak havoc across this nation, supermarkets reign among those front line entities along with first responders and health care workers.
While most of the country remains on lockdown due to stay at home restrictions, these true heroes risk their lives daily in order to provide essential services to those in need. So while the essential job functions of these employees remains very much the same, the fact is that their every day work life is really very different.
First of all, most of, if not all of these employees are gripped with fear. Fear of the unknown. Will one of us be the next victim to contract the virus?
Skeptics have been slow to acknowledge the science behind the spread of this novel corona virus.
With that being said, many health experts have now warned that asymptomatic "silent carriers" could be transmitting the virus as data suggests this is indeed occurring. Whether it's someone being asymptomatic or whether it's someone that is pre-symptomatic, the bottom line is that supermarket employees remain in the line of fire. Estimates show that 18-30% of all COVID-19 infections are indeed asymptomatic. In other words, its very possible that many of these employees have already contracted the virus and don't even know it.
Not only do the associates fear getting the virus themselves; but more importantly they are scared that they will contract it and then pass it on to a loved one. Many of the workers have discussed these fears openly; its truly gut wrenching to see their pain and the "unknown" entity only enhances these concerns.
Furthermore; the situation is only exacerbated, by the lack of shopper limits that we are seeing across a wide range of companies throughout the country. Many chains have begun to start enforcing these limits but too many are still ignoring this factor. To be quite honest, this could be a game changer in mitigating the spread.
Buying food remains an essential function but it's certainly not essential for families of five and six people to participate in that shopping trip. It's also asinine for the same shoppers to buy three cart loads of food every other day even while their refrigerators remain above capacity already. This is the problem. People are truly not taking this virus seriously and its sadly at the workers expense. This factor can be measured by the increase in foot traffic that we are seeing on a daily basis. Some supermarkets are up two-three hundred percent in sales on a weekly basis and that's no exaggeration.
Plain and simple, companies must restrict shoppers and must institute strict limits on the amount of shoppers in the store at one time. State and Local governments must step in and enforce these guidelines by whatever means necessary. Local police departments and or military should be called upon to ensure that these limits are being followed. That would be an excellent step in mitigating the spread and would definitely aid in decreasing the anxiety that every supermarket employee is feeling at this moment.
Another key challenge that grocery store associates are facing today is dealing with rude and nasty customers. While the majority of shoppers continue to remain pleasant and thankful for the job that these workers are doing, many of them have had to deal with insensitive and selfish customers who show no regard for human respect and dignity. Grocery store employees are risking their lives the very moment they walk through those four walls so please show a little more courtesy.
Associates are yelled at on a daily basis. They deal with insults and obscenities on the regular. Their private space Is invaded more often than not. The six foot rule continues to be a figment of our imagination. In most cases, social distancing is non existent. The incompetent questions like, "Why don't you have toilet paper?", or "How come you ran out of milk?," or "When will you be getting hand sanitizer in stock?" are all too familiar. We have even saw some customers coughing while not covering their mouth or (inadvertently) spitting in associates faces while talking.
And then there are the patrons who continue to ignore the special time that has been set aside for the elderly and immunocompromised customers as well as the first responders and health care workers. Blatant disrespect folks. Also the uneducated shoppers wearing masks and gloves who continually cross contaminate on a minute by minute basis; which mind you actually enhances risk of exposure or exposing others. Then there are the customers who feel it's necessary to touch seventeen varieties of the same item before putting them all back to then only grab six more.
Next just take a look at the parking lots and sidewalks that remain littered with customers vile, disgusting, germ infested gloves and masks. Yes, grocery store employees have been subjected to some very rude and offensive treatment and the list can go on and on.
Many of these associates have been working around the clock for three weeks and counting. Its like groundhog day. Burnout is today's next recipe. Even when they are tired, these employees still show up every day and give three hundred percent effort. The amount of freight that is coming in is sometimes two-three times as much as a normal day. Shelves are beginning to get back to capacity and then it hits again.
Panic driven shopping round 2. When will it end? No one truly knows. However; one thing remains emphatically clear. Life in the supermarket business has drastically changed. The day in the life of a true hero; because that's exactly what these employees are. They are absolute heroes and should be praised for their strength and courage.
Supermarkets have become the epicenter for essential business and as a result the lives of its employees have become more complicated. As the unknown nature of this pandemic continues, so to does the anxiety that the associates will face on a daily basis. Hopefully the Social Distancing measures that have been put into practice will help to stop the spread of this viscous disease and life can go somewhat back to normal.
In the meantime, keep up the great work brothers and sisters! You are among the most important people in society today along with healthcare workers and first responders. Put on that armor daily and keep grinding. Although your work identity has changed, your character remains the same! And its that character that has allowed you to thrive during one of our countries most darkest hours. And to all those customers that are coming to the supermarkets to shop...please show a little respect.
Remember; only shop individually and not as an entire family. Only buy what is necessary...no hoard shopping.
Please be kind to all fellow customers and associates.
Respect the six foot rule...yes that one. Remember...social distancing?
Only ask legitimate questions while refraining from incompetent no brainers (Ex. Why don't you have toilet paper?). Please respect everyone's personal space...do not come up into employees faces. If your gonna cough please cover your mouth (you should be wearing a mask anyways). When talking...please don't spit in the employees face.
If your going to wear gloves or masks...please educate yourself and become informed about the dangers of cross contamination and the proper use of said protective equipment. Respect the set aside time periods that companies have instituted for our elderly and immunocompromised individuals as well as first responders and health care workers...don't be ignorant.
And finally, please do not litter. Your vile disgusting habits will not be tolerated. Clean up your mess and please throw your gloves and masks in the trash can or dispose in your vehicles...not the supermarket parking lots.
Written By Jason Voorhees
It's a great time to be alive if your a fan of heavy metal. Metal and hard rock enthusiasts will have their pick of the litter as far as concert tours go in 2020. Tour announcements have been coming fast and furious on an almost daily basis it seems. This should be one bad ass year for metal music mania.
Of course, the grand daddy of them all is Guns N Roses. The rock legends kick off their summer tour with two shows in England beginning on May 29th. The band will be joined by grunge stalwarts The Smashing Pumpkins for a select group of shows. It was only a few years ago that many thought the prospects of a Guns N Roses reunion was only a pipe dream fantasy. Now for less than $200, you can see your childhood idols once again.
If your taste and diet is more on the heavy side, then you can always check out the Megadeth/Lamb of God tour instead. Megadeth, one of the architects of thrash metal, is looking to come back with a vengeance after its leader Dave Mustaine had been temporarily out of commission due to cancer. Well, he is now fully healed and they will join the speed/groove metal kings Lamb of God for the co-headline gig which will also feature Trivium and In Flames. This tour kicks off on June 14th in Raleigh, NC and you will not want to miss it.
Of course, if hair metal feeds your fancy then you just hit the jackpot as Motley Crue has decided to come out of retirement. Taking its cue from it's name (The Stadium Tour), this show is an arena rock junkies Willy Wonka. The tour features Motley Crue, Def Leppard, Poison and Joan Jett. You can't get more glam than this folks. There will be Girls, Girls, Girls in a state of Euphoria looking for Nothing But a Good Time in hopes of shedding their Bad Reputation. This haymaker begins on June 18th.
The Metal Gods themselves have also joined the fray. Judas Priest and Sabaton will be patrolling venues everywhere beginning in May. Although K.K. Downing has left the band and is now planning on fronting his own version of Priest, its always a treat to witness Rob Halford Screaming For Vengeance as the band spews Firepower that's more potent than British Steel. Sabaton as an opening act is far from shabby as well.
Then of course there is Rage Against the Machine. If your not afraid of breaking the bank then this one's for you. This tour is actually right around the corner and should be epic. This band has always brought down the house and this should be no different as the bring their Evil Empire to The Battle of Los Angeles. These Renegades are ready to rock out and rock on.
Ok...you say that you want EPIC. Well Faith No More and KORN are bringing their talents together as a Co-Headline blockbuster. Neither of these bands need an introduction as this ticket is in high demand. This one came From Out of Nowhere and just when you felt that your life was Falling to Pieces you then realized it was just a Midlife Crisis. Follow the Leader as you travel into The Nothing, this one could get dicey. KORN + Faith No More= Life is Peachy!
And the hits just keep on coming. Other tours that have been announced include Ratt/Cinderella's Tom Keifer/Skid Row/Slaughter, Slipknot, AC/DC (Brian Johnson reunion), Dokken/Lynch Mob, among many others. These tours that have been listed are absolute top of the line shows. This does not include the ones that have not been announced yet. Could you imagine if we got a surprise Metallica tour message!!!
No matter what, 2020 is shaping up to be a heavy metal fans dream and the prospects can only get brighter. So get your popcorn ready, open up your checkbook, adjust your credit line on apple pay, and get ready for some heavy metal purity. I want to see ten million heavy metal maniacs prowling these venues throughout the summer; enjoying our favorite past time like its nobodies business.
For those about to rock....we salute you!!! Rock on Mates!!! It's party time in 2020!
Written By Jason Voorhees
The 2020 NHL Trade Deadline was today and the Flyers were able participants.
On Monday the Flyers added (F) Nate Thompson from the Montreal Canadians in exchange for a 5th round pick. The Flyers then traded prospect (F) Kyle Criscuolo and a 4th round pick to the Anaheim Ducks for (F) Derek Grant.
These were certainly not the household names that Flyers fans were craving. This was not Jeff Carter or Wayne Simmonds. It was certainly not Vincent Trochek and was most definitely not Jean-Gabriel Pageau.
Those were the sexy names that most Flyers fans wanted to hear on deadline day. While Thompson and Grant are not the fancy names that everyone wanted...I will promise you that these guys are just what the Dr. ordered.
And of course you will say...how is that? The fact of the matter is that this is not a popularity contest. This is the NHL. This is a league where TEAM probably most represents every aspect and facet of the sport. These are two role players that bring veteran leadership to a still very young team and that is a welcomed addition in my book.
This Flyers team has definitely surpassed all of my expectations thus far. I firmly believe that this has already been a successful season under the leadership of first year coach Alain Vigneault; and the sky is the limit.
Everything else that happens from this point is gravy. Anything can happen. With that being said, I am not saying that this organization is without fault and that they have not made mistakes. However; they are definitely moving the needle in the right direction.
I have been extremely critical of the Flyers organization over the past few seasons and rightfully so. I have probably been one of their harshest critics. As a diehard fan I have earned that right. However; any realist must admit that this team is trending in the right direction. This team is playing with an edge and you have to love it.
Anything can happen in the NHL playoffs and you don't have to look further than last season when the upstart Blues won the Stanley Cup. Carter Hart has the talent and wherewithal to go on a run and this team definitely has the talent to win it all. Adding two role pieces to this kind of team could be exactly what gets them over the top. There is a much different vibe with this team under AV's leadership...something that has been missing since can I dare say it...2010.
Nate Thompson is a two way player that brings versatility to the forward position. He can play multiple positions and he is an excellent penalty killer. Likewise, Grant is another versatile forward that can also put the puck in the net (14 goals). While Thompson is probably a fourth line center that will see time on the PK, Grant can play 5-5, PK or even the power play.
Neither of these players are guys that are going to light up the scoreboard on any given night. They are not star players that are going to get the fans excited with energy. However; these are exactly the types of players that bring success and can definitely help this team moving forward. Thompson and Grant are veterans that add depth to a team that really didn't have much besides the youth waiting to make their entrance in the NHL.
Will the Flyers win the Stanley Cup in 2020? The answer is probably almost certainly no. Can this current team win a championship though?? Absolutely.
If you look back at trade deadline moves, the big name players more often than not do not make a difference in winning a team a ring. In fact, its usually the opposite. There are countless examples of role players that have been traded at the deadline that have gone on to help their new team win the Stanley Cup.
Only time will tell if this Flyers team is ready to move to the next level.
However; Chuck Fletcher did an excellent job today with preparing for that very task by adding two veteran role players that will provide depth and leadership down the stretch. And that is a breath of fresh air for a consistent critic like me.
I have had my issues with this team but I can honestly say that I love the direction that this team is moving. And its under the radar trades like today that could catapult this team over the top and for that I am thankful. Here's hoping that two minor moves could be the start of something huge. No matter what happens down the stretch, the sexy or fancy name will not be the deciding factor...but instead it will be the role player that gets it done.
Written By Jason Voorhees
So the year is 2020. You are the most sought after music producer on the market and are trying to make a "huge splash." Eddie Trunk from "That Metal Show" comes to you with the idea of a lifetime.
His proposal: He wants you to arrange the most significant and most rad heavy metal music festival in history. This event should feature the best of the best in Heavy Metal...new and old. The criteria...the bands that you choose must have name notoriety as well as multi-platinum status. The group should also fit into the general metal category but could also be hard rock.
Eddie wants a commitment of 40 bands as the festival will be a two-day event featuring 20 performers per day.
All of the money and proceeds from this festival will help fund the war against Cancer. The festival will be called METAL GODS OF THUNDER AND LIGHTNING. The festival will be played at the iconic Woodstock grounds in Bethel, New York.
At this point, it's being labeled the concert of the century...and the anticipation is building. The only significant criteria are that the bands must fit the heavy metal category (Hair Metal, Grunge Metal, Death Metal, Thrash, Speed, Industrial, etc.) in some way, shape, or form.
Ok...so you, as the next musical guru, have a month to get the lineup created. Eddie has secured Black Sabbath and AC/DC as the two headliners. Sabbath will perform on Saturday (first night), and AC/DC will perform Sunday (second night). You are also given the option of having a band that has retired to reunite. More importantly...maybe even secure a band that has lost one or more founding members.
This opportunity is one for the ages and will either make or break you. Eddie wants you to assemble the bands by order of musical lore and importance to the more significant cause. You have been given unlimited funds and also an expert team of stellar recruiters. Your team includes some of the most excellent musicians of yesterday as well as today. The team comprises Mick Jagger, Ozzy Osbourne (who will be performing with Black Sabbath), Billy Idol, Jimmy Paige, Alice Cooper, and Steven Tyler.
The team sets out to recruit the best of the best, and the results are gold. After weeks of work, the following bands have been assembled to participate in this festival of all festivals...
Guns N Roses, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Aerosmith, Van Halen (featuring Sammy Haggar and David Lee Roth), Motley Crue, Def Leppard, Pantera (featuring Zack Wylde on guitar and Chris Adler on Drums), Lamb of God, Megadeth, Slayer, Testament, Anthrax, Overkill, Alice In Chains, Bullet For My Valentine, Avenged Sevenfold, Skid Row (featuring Sebastian Bach), Tool, Ratt, Whitesnake, Poison, Cinderella, Alice Cooper, KISS, Twisted Sister, Quiet Riot, Faith No More, Sevendust, Slipknot, Killswitch Engage, Marilyn Manson, KORN, Nine Inch Nails, White Zombie, Bon Jovi, and Dokken.
Along with those bands, Jimmy Paige/Robert Plant, Billy Idol, and The Rolling Stones, during an opening ceremony on Friday, September 11th.
Eddie agrees that this is an awe-inspiring lineup after assembling the bands and that this could be a potentially epic event. Forty of Metals best. The Beasts of Metal. Some hot reunions; Star-Studded Talent up and down the lineup.
After failing to secure the Woodstock grounds, the team has now settled on the New York Yankees stadium as the venue. The tickets will hold a 300 dollar price tag, which will be non-refundable. The 300 dollars covers the entire event (3 days). As mentioned...all proceeds will be donated to Cancer research and helping cancer patients.
The show will be held Saturday, September 12th, and Sunday, September 13th, with a special opening ceremony on Friday, September 11th.
Along with the bands, there will be plenty of refreshments and donations and sponsors from Pepsi, Frito Lay, Apple, Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and many others. The entire cast of "That Metal Show" will be on hand as well and will film a three-day live show at the event. The following will make guest appearances: Guest appearances will also BEYONCE, Jessica Alba, Jennifer Lopez, David Chappelle, porn's best, "The Hangover" cast, Jim Breuer, and other team members Billy Idol, Jimmy Paige, The Rolling Stones, and Steven Tyler.
Your team has struck gold, and Eddie Trunk Salutes you. How does it feel to be a METAL GOD?? Please get your tickets as they are hot for the take. Rock on America. This is more than a fistful of metal... it's more like a DUMPSTER FULL. Here is the three-day lineup for the festival that is coming at the end of the year...
FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 11th
SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 12th
SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 13th
Written By Jason Voorhees
On Wednesday, Phillies local beat writer Matt Breen had some pretty poignant comments regarding the current state of the Phillies; while speaking as a guest of 975 The Fanatic Radio Show.
"These owners are not willing to pay into the luxury tax. Nobody wants to pay and that's where the Phillies are," Breen stated. He went on to say that "I'm not going into spring training saying this is a playoff team. In fact, I struggle to say that their a wild card team."
Certainly not a glowing review for a franchise that has stated numerous times that they are not rebuilding and ready to contend. Last year at this time, John Middleton was star hunting. The Phillies managing partner was courting one of the league's biggest star free agents in Bryce Harper. We all know how that played out and the fans were stoked.
However; what a difference a year can make. Although there was so much promise going into last season, the team had a disappointing finish and they fired their manager. There is no doubt that adding a manager like Joe Girardi will make a huge difference. The team also added Bryan Price as their new pitching coach which should also pay instant dividends.
Moreover; the team signed Zach Wheeler and Didi Gregorious as free agents and those are all satisfying moves as well. At this point, I don't think there is a question that this team will be better.
However; what is the ultimate goal? Hopefully your answer is to win a championship. At the very least, your answer has to have the Phillies ready to contend this year and at least make the playoffs. The fact of the matter is that this team continues to have many holes in its roster and they are not even the best team in their own division. And that is a bothersome situation to be in.
I hate to sound like a Debbie downer but I am just not that confident. And that brings me to my biggest beef...why is John Middleton being cheap all of a sudden? Is he just another fraud sports owner that makes his bed in lies and deception?
As a die hard fan, its hard for me to have any sympathy for a professional sports ownership group when it comes to spending money. Especially when that owner is a billionaire like John. And frankly, it disturbs me even more when that same guy said that the team was ready to spend stupid money just one year ago.
As a writer that often does a lot of research; I totally get the fact that comments are often exaggerated and many times are taken out of context.
However; its also true that when comments are made they can either be backed up by actions or just flat out misunderstood. The point is that last year John made a declaration that this team was all in and that they were laying all of the cards on the table. Well, when the team traded for all-star catcher J.T. Realmuto and Jean Segura, followed by signing Bryce Harper, David Robertson, Andrew McCutchen and more it certainly signified that he was not messing around.
However; now all of a sudden this team refuses to go over the luxury tax threshold. Any realist will recognize the importance of finding balance when constructing a roster. Furthermore, there is no doubt that this team needs a blend of youth (prospects) as well as veterans to sustain an upwards trend. With that being said though, today's game shows that there are still teams out there that are willing to spend and those teams continue to field superior talent.
My main concern at this point is whether John Middleton is truly commited to making this team great; or whether his real intentions are to just get the team to contend and sell tickets. While appearing as a guest on WIP sports radio in 2017, Middleton made an almost legendary quote that "We're going to get that trophy back somehow, or I'm going to die trying."
That was as close to a declaration or promise to do whatever it takes to get this team another championship, as there comes. What a way to set the bar high and with that fuel the expectations of the die hard fans. Well, it appears that Middleton is talking in riddles now. Because if he was wiling to do whatever it takes, going over the luxury tax would not be an issue folks.
Even if you are in the camp that the team cant just buy buy buy, there is no arguing that there were better moves that could have been made and it all comes down to money. And that my friends is a travesty. Now I will cite a few examples of why I feel that John Middleton is a fraud; and that he has duped Phillies nation in an epic fashion...
The bottom line is that Mr. Middleton is not backing up those promises with action. By refusing to go over the tax he is not only signifying that this team is not good enough to contend, he is also going against the basic principals that he has preached so feverishly.
I have tried to remain optimistic and patient this offseason and to trust that the organization will do whatever it takes to win.
Well, my patience has worn thin. My confidence meter now screams miniscule numbers. And my anger level has reached 911. I am afraid that Middleton is not the stand up man that he has portrayed himself as. Im concerned that he has alterior motives to not transcending the tax, motives that only have aspirations of making this team good...but not great. And my heart is telling me that John has turned back into a pumpkin and that this franchise is destined for failure.
Well I hope that my fears are just my imagination. Im praying that my opinion is just exaggerated and just an overreaction. And I am trusting that he will ultimately make me eat crow. Sometimes my meltdowns crave the voice of reason, and God knows I have had many arguments about the state of this team. But as a die hard fan, my expectations are high. And when I smell a problem, I am compelled to action.
Hopefully, the John Middleton that I thought I knew will suddenly appear. And then this will all just be blog speak in someone else's version of GOT MAIL. Mr. Middleton, you are the next contestant on the price is right...now do the right thing damnit and pay the price. Please please please...its only money. For the sake of Phillies fans everywhere...DO THAT THING!
Written By Jason Voorhees
As I sit here writing this piece, this all seems so surreal.
You don't have to be a fan of heavy metal music to know who Metallica is. One would not have to be a fashion enthusiast to recognize the name, Versace. And the same goes for Kobe Bryant...even a person that despises basketball would know the name KOBE.
I am not a huge basketball fan, nor am I knowledgeable about the sport in general. The extent of my understanding of the game comes only as an occasional viewer of the local Philadelphia 76ers. However, if there ever were any basketball player that I truly respected and idolized, it would be Kobe Bryant.
The "Black Mamba," as he has become to be known, is a legend. Kobe was not just some local star. He was not only a national superstar. Kobe was an international icon. He was more than a man. Bryant was an elite superstar that became more than human. Life after basketball for this man was all about family and him becoming an ambassador for millions of people around the world.
When I first heard the tragic news of Kobe and his daughter Gigi's death yesterday, I was in total shock. My first reaction was that this couldn't be real and that it was just fake news. Unfortunately, as I continued to refresh Twitter, I realized that the report was, in fact, correct and that Kobe had died.
This is a tragedy of epic proportions. 9 Lives lost. Countless souls affected. Families were torn apart, and their worlds ripped upside down. First and foremost, my thoughts and prayers go out to ALL of the families, friends, fans, and followers that have been affected by this terrible accident. This is a somber day, and I know many will be mourning for a long time to come.
As we all try to make sense of this tragedy, one thing that has quickly become apparent is the number of lives that Kobe touched during his 41 years of life. The outpouring of tributes has spanned all walks of life. And this is the theme I am choosing to portray as I try to pay my special tribute to Mr. Bryant and his Mamba Mentality.
In my opinion, Kobe Bryant is a Top 5 player of all-time in basketball history. Kobe has achieved the following awards and accomplishments: 4th all-time in regular-season scoring. 18x all-star. 15x member of All-NBA team. 5x NBA Champion. 2x Scoring Champion. 2x NBA Finals MVP. 4x NBA All-Star Game MVP. He holds countless NBA and Los Angeles Lakers records, among other achievements. That, my friends, is Kobe Bryant, the basketball player.
But Kobe Bryant, the person, was so much more than a man. He was one of the most beloved people on and off the court. When I think of Kobe Bryant, "the person," the following adjectives come to mind...
Self Driven, Motivated, Passionate, Competitive, Fearless, Compassionate, Tenacious, Humble, Confident, Relentless.
Those are some severe attributes, and Kobe was elite through all of them. Kobe is a guy that transcended the game. Bryant was an exceptional human being that inspired countless others from all walks of life. Kobe Bryant was much bigger than an athlete. He was almost Super Human.
These are the characteristics I choose to remember as I pay tribute to Kobe.
One thing that these types of tragedies bring light to is just how fleeting life is.
And as we pay tribute and mourn all of the lost lives yesterday, we all need to face the fact that we are all mortal. Life is not promised. And as we come to this realization, we can all take a page out of Kobe's resume as a role model of how to live our lives.
Live life to its fullest and embrace every challenge like it's your last. Face every obstacle as a fierce competitor and take things head-on. Treat others with respect. Tell your family members that you love them. Be an ambassador for doing the right things.
Embrace the Mamba Mentality. Kobe Bryant was More than a Man. Kobe Bryant was legendary.
To pay tribute to Kobe Bryant, maybe we all could try to model ourselves like him, and in doing so, his death will not be in vain. I truly believe everything happens for a reason, and this tragedy can now have more meaning. Just embrace Kobe Bryant and what he stood for, and maybe we will all find peace. Kobe Bryant, your legacy will live forever, and we will always remember you and your family. Thanks for all of the memories and the lives you touched! Rest Easy, Kobe.
#RIP #MAMBA #KOBE #GIGI
The undertaking of any all-time greatest list is never easy.
When it comes to music, the task can be even more difficult. So the question remains...how do you chose the best guitarists of all-time when there are so many styles and techniques to choose from?
Some guitarists are technically brilliant. Others may be less skilled in the technical aspects but more of a "feel and attitude" type player. Then, the freestyle "wow factor" players have to lead to the "legendary" status they invoke today. No matter which category these guitarists find themselves in, they all share one thing in common, and that's the way they command themselves on the stage and the way they operate the ax.
I have composed many lists in my day, and this will undoubtedly be one of my most challenging tasks to date. However, I am confident in navigating the landscape and narrowing it down to the highest upper echelon elite group. To do so, I will combine rankings based on a myriad of polls and expert opinions. I will then use my musical research to make the orders and populate the list.
As with any list, this is a matter of opinion, and I am sure there will be many who disagree along the way...and indeed that's ok. I love these types of disagreements because it sparks some excellent conversation. With that being said, here are a few guitarists that I love but unfortunately just missed the cut...
I know you are all waiting to see which players cut...so without further ado...Ladies and Gentlemen, here are the Top 25 Guitarists of All-Time...
24) Mark Knopfler
Knopfler is the lead guitarist and co-founder of the band Dire Straits. He is a fingerstyle guitarist that can bring it on all levels. He may not have the name notoriety of many other greats, but what he lacks in the name he makes up for on the stage—a terrific songwriter with underrated talent.
23) Duane Allman
An American session guitarist and the founder of the band The Allman Brothers. Known as the "Skydog," Duane was one of the most formidable working guitarists in the biz. He is most known for his expressive slide technique and his use of improvisation. The world will never know his true potential as he tragically died at the age of 24.
22) Neil Young
Young was a Canadian born musician known for his talents on multiple instruments. However, most of his fame came on the ax as he fronted numerous bands, most notably Buffalo Springfield and Crazy Horse. His work with the latter led to his nickname "The Godfather of Grunge," as he has been attributed to the beginnings of this important genre of music. Neil is known for his wide range of styles, which combines folk, rock, and country with rapid use of distortion.
21) Alex Lifeson
One of the co-founders of the band Rush, Lifeson is known for his well-rounded approach to guitar. His agility and versatility have been praised by many artists alike. He is an active member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and has won the Best Rock Guitarist award twice in his lifetime. James Hetfield and John Petrucci have both cited Lifeson as significant influences on their careers. Underrated and a stone-cold lock for this list.
20) Angus Young
Co-Founder and Lead Guitarist of the Australian rock band AC/DC. The second "Young " to make this list. Angus is a tremendous guitar player that brings an added level to the stage that is rarely matched. He is well known for wild onstage antics that have helped cement his legacy among the greats. Many people have criticized his often simple chord progressions while failing to recognize his unending repertoire of arpeggios. No matter what difference of opinion may arise about Young's talent, there is no underselling of his place with the greatest of all-time.
19) Pete Townshend
Another dual musician threat, Pete was the leader and co-founder of The Who. Townshend thrived at his craft despite never having any formal training. He is well known for his aggressive playing style and has received critical acclaim for his innovative songwriting techniques. Another member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the recipient of a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. One of the first great riff writers of our day.
An American singer, songwriter, musician, record producer, dancer, actor, and filmmaker. His resume speaks for itself. He is regarded as one of the most excellent musicians in the history of music. What gets sometimes lost, though, is how great of a guitarist he was. It was on the ax where he made his most magic. He has won awards galore for his achievements both on and off the stage. His album Purple Rain remains his most extraordinary effort of all-time as it stayed atop the Billboard 200 for 24 consecutive weeks. A true legend in music and a Guitar God for sure.
17) Dimebag Darrell
Darrell Abbott, best known as "Dimebag Darrell" was a co-founder for the band Pantera. His work on the guitar was absolutely breathtaking. No doubt one of the most influential guitarists of the past 25 years, this legend was tragically taken away gone too soon. Dimebag fused a blues style with traditional metal to forge the groove metal style that would eventually become its own musical genre of metal. He is also known for his heavy use of the major third in his riffs and leads. Another disciple of Eddie Van Halen.
16) Steve Vai
Vai is a three-time Grammy Award winner and fifteen-time nominee; who has stood the test of time and produced at an epic level. A Frank Zappa and Joe Satriani pupil has gone on to forge his legacy of guitar excellence. He is known for his attention to detail and has maintained a rigorous practice schedule that sometimes would transcend fifteen hours. He blends many styles and has set the bar high. This guy can shred and will knock your socks off.
15) Tony Iommi
Tony had overcome many obstacles during his career, beginning with a right-hand injury before he even started playing. Most people would have folded but not Tony. Known mostly for his work with Black Sabbath, Tony can be attributed to much of the metal we hear today. He perfected the power chord while combining blues-style solos with dark and minor melodic riffs. He was also one of the early pioneers of treble boosting effects pedals, and his sound is well pronounced. No list will ever be complete without Tony...a wrap.
14) Randy Rhoads
Another guitar great gone way too soon. Randy was a devout student of classical guitar, which he combined with metal to form his distinct style. Rhoads was an extraordinarily technical player and maintained rigid precision throughout all of his solos. He began his career with the band Quiet Riot but made most of his fame as the lead guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne during his prime solo act. His use of classical guitar became his signature style, and his riffs can be recognized a mile away because of this. There is no telling how great he would have been; had he not died so young, but his talent was limitless—one of my favs of all-time.
13) Brian May
Brian is the lead guitarist and co-founder of the rock band Queen. He is responsible for writing most of the band's hits and was instrumental in the group's rise to the top in music. Referred to by many as a virtuoso of guitar, his style included many classical and pop-driven leads. Although he sometimes does not get the credit, Brian deserves so much more. He had a unique sound that was unable to be replicated, which puts him on another level. He is responsible for some of the most iconic solos, including "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "Brighton Rock," both of which belong on the Top 50 all-time.
12) Ritchie Blackmore
Blackmore dove onto the scene with Deep Purple and continued his excellence with Rainbow. He was one of the earliest guitarists to use the classical guitar style, and he used that style to mold his distinct sound and tone. Ritchie focused on composing tight and on point solos for every song he wrote, a prolific riff writer. Blackmore was also big on Vibrato, which he took to another level. Very underrated artist and sometimes forgotten as one of the greats...but not by me.
11) Chuck Berry
Known as the "Father of Rock and Roll," Berry is entirely responsible for the world of music that we know today. Rock and Roll's pioneer set the tone for all of the great guitarists that we have grown to admire. He was one of the first guitarists to use a "solo" as a way of expression. He has appeared anywhere from fifth to twenty-fifth on most all-time lists. An inspiration and one of the early groundwork layers of rock music culture. Also responsible for the redefinition of Rhythm and Blues, an essential element of rock music in general.
10) Keith Richards
Richards is the lead guitarist of the Rolling Stones, one of the most iconic bands of all-time. Richards has shown the propensity to stand the test of time, and he has refined his skills throughout the past decades. One of the true stalwarts of both rhythm and lead guitar, he thrives no matter what position he finds himself in. Although he shared most of the band's songwriting credits, Keith was the driving force in most of the band's successes. Most guitar players today cite Richards as being a significant influence on their craft.
9) Jeff Beck
Many guitar experts put Beck on the same level as Clapton, Paige, and Hendrix regarding innovation and sound. That's some serious company which is well deserved and rightfully stated. Beck came from the same tree as two of those stalwarts when he played with The Yardbirds. Jeff recorded two hit albums during his solo career, but most of his greats have come playing for other artists. He was one of the pioneers of the "lead" guitarist and put his stamp on every project he ever worked on. Beck may not have the name pedigree but has the talent, and that's precisely why he makes the top ten.
8) Stevie Ray Vaughn
Vaughn was an American singer and songwriter and was responsible for reviving blues guitar during the eighties. His main influences were Jimi Hendrix, Albert King, and Buddy Guy, among others. Vaughn was big into tremolo and vibrato as well as sweep picking. You would classify Stevie Ray as a "feels style" player as it all came from the heart. His playing transcended many genres as far as style and attitude. When you listened to this guy play, you were in for a treat at any given moment. He was a guitar hero of the present if we ever did have one and yet another gone way too soon.
7) B.B. King
The grandfather of the string bend, King, developed an intricate style of soloing that would go on to influence future generations of blues guitar. King was another player that was maybe not as technically sound, but he made up for improvisation. He further cemented his legacy by combining rhythm and blues with jazz to form his unique sound. He was a master of live performances during his career, sometimes averaging over 300 appearances per year, definitely ahead of his time, and a true master of ax dominance.
6) David Gilmour
Gilmour made his legacy playing for the band Pink Floyd. David is an excellent guitarist who combines precision, skill, and technique to balance raw emotion and feel. The result is an all-out masterpiece of sound and energy. Gilmour is responsible for many iconic solos, and his lead play is of elite status. Whether its long sustaining melodic tones or dark eloquent riffs, his sound always seems to break the barriers. One of the true legends of the craft and well-deserving of all-time great prowess.
Few guitarists have made as much of an impact on music as Slash. Known mostly for his work as the lead guitarist for Guns N Roses, Slash has carved out quite a solo career as well. He has also appeared as a guest for many music's most outstanding performers, including Michael Jackson, Alice Cooper, and Ozzy Osbourne. An absolute beast of his craft, Slash is known for his epic solos and arpeggio laden leads. His style is often bold and to the point, and not many can maintain his playing's attitude or feel. Quite honestly, he could belong in the top three, but number five is not too shabby.
4) Eric Clapton
Often referred to as one of the most influential guitarists of all-time and revered by pundits everywhere as a guitar legend. Beginning with the Yardbirds, Clapton set sail on one of the most incredible journeys a guitarist could ever travel. He made his fame with the band Cream, where he produced most of his hit songs. Clapton is another "feel" inspired musician; however, his skill and technique were also elite. He is also known as one of the most formidable working guitarists as far as practice goes, and that practice made for the perfect sound. He is a three-time member of the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame. A Rock God on earth.
3) Jimmy Page
Lead guitarist and founder of Led Zeppelin, Page is another of the most influential musicians of all-time. Probably the best pure riff writer of the generation as well as a musical genius. Just about every guitarist today will credit Page for some of their influence. He has transcended every genre of metal and would easily blend in with any of the bands today. Page was a master of the lead element and has fathered countless guitar greats today regarding style and technique. The Page is in a league of his own leaving most others in the dust.
2) Eddie Van Halen
Although he is not credited for inventing the "tapping technique," he indeed did perfect the style. He never fully learned how to read music, but the audience could never tell. Van Halen is a Rock God that leaves listeners in awe. His style is epic, and his energy is relentless. Eddie was a prodigy and one of the great innovators of the guitar world we know today. To put it simply...There would be no Synyster Gates without Eddie. There would be no Kirk Hammett without Van Halen. He is playing varsity while everyone is trying to learn jayvee—the crème de la crème. Only one guitarist can ever come close to this level, and that's a fact.
1) Jimi Hendrix
Hands down the greatest of all-time. He is the grandfather of the metal guitar as we know it today. He was one of the pioneers of using high gain and volume while infusing widespread distortion through amplifiers. Most of the guitar sounds we hear can be attributed to this musical inventor—A master of innovation and a true guitar hero. Jimi is the king of the ax, and we are all his pawns. Jimi could speak through the guitar. The strings had their vocabulary, and the sounds would resonate as he played—Guitar hero number one, folks.
Written by Jason Voorhees
The story of the 2019 Philadelphia Eagles has yet to be completely written.
How will this story transpire? When will this story end? Will this team raise the Lombardi once again?
This Sunday, we may get a piece of those answers as the Eagles face the Seattle Seahawks at Lincoln Financial Field in the Wild Card Round of the playoffs.
On Friday morning during an airing of Good Morning Football, Kyle Brandt produced another epic episode of the show when he compared the Eagles to the "Wolf of Wall Street." Brandt of course became famous in Philadelphia in 2017 during the Eagles Super Bowl run as he adopted them as his team of choice.
The Eagles are no stranger to being the underdog. In fact, over the past three seasons the team has continually battled the odds despite achieving consistent success, ultimately winning the Lombardi Trophy in 2017. There is something that can be said about this team that when the chips are down and everything is on the line, that they play their best football.
Since 2017, the Eagles have a 20-9 record (including playoffs) from the month of November on. After the Super Bowl win in 2017, the team won a road playoff game in 2018 before ultimately losing to the Saints in the Divisional Round.
This season, after a terrible loss to Miami the first week of December, the team went 4-0 down the stretch to secure its first Divisional title since 2017. This team is battle tested. This team is hungry. Hungry dogs run faster.
And now the team is being compared to wolves. What do wolves do best? They smell blood. I think Mr. Brandt is on to something here. Everyone else is counting this team out and that's exactly why the Eagles are dangerous. The 2017 version used the underdog mentality to its advantage. They rode that narrative all the way to Minnesota.
The 2018 version used the same mentality taking the much favored Saints down to the wire in NOLA before the untimely loss.
And now we have the 2019 group. Injuries have once again ravaged this team. In fact, no one would have been surprised if the Eagles did not make the playoffs. Yet here we are, two days from hosting a home playoff game on Sunday.
Some people would label this group "The Replacements." That would be a highly accurate nick name as the team is playing with many players that have come from the practice squad heap. Wide Receivers Greg Ward, Deontay Burnett, and Rob Davis. Tight End Richard Rodgers and Josh Perkins.
As mentioned, many pundits and analysts are counting this team out and mostly because of the current state of this roster. And really, on paper the Eagles should really not have any business being in this position. But don't tell anyone on this team that.
This is a team that believes in its leader. Carson Wentz proved a lot of his haters and doubters wrong down the stretch and that in itself is a true testament to why this team has a legitimate shot to go far here. The sky is the limit folks. The chips are down once again and the wolves are on the prowl.
Doug Pederson is the leader of the pack. He will have this team ready no doubt. Doug smells blood.
Carson is the teams general. Wentz will provide the energy and the wherewithal to drive this machine forward. Carson can see the promised land.
The remainder of the pack is primed to follow. They are loyal and will die for their leaders. The players are programmed to do whatever it takes. The prey has been spotted in the distance. The Seahawks have been circled.
Wolves are territorial by nature and this Eagles team is no different. While the team has had some success on the road, they definitely play their best football at home.
No unit has been more effected by this notion than the defense.
In fact, since 2016, the Philadelphia Eagles defense has allowed the fewest points per game at home in the NFL and this includes the playoffs. The last time these two teams met, the Eagles held the Seahawks to 17 points. Defense wins Championships and the defense will once again have to bring its "A" game.
This brings me to my keys of the game:
Prediction: Eagles- 24 Seahawks-17
The story is not finished yet. Pieces of the puzzle are starting to get put together. Sunday's outcome will tell us a lot of what we do not yet know about this team...but there is one thing that I already do know...
The wolves of Broad Street are ready to pounce. Everyone is counting them out. We have been here before. The scenario is familiar. The stage is set. I am definitely feeling good about this teams chances. The sky is the limit folks. If the Eagles win Sunday they will get a healthy Desean Jackson back for Round 2 and anything can happen from there.
Hungry dogs run like the wind; while intelligent wolves definitely run faster and are trained for the kill. This team has that killer instinct when they smell blood. NFL beware...The EAGLES have finally landed! #FlyEaglesFly
Written By Jason Voorhees
The early 2000s saw the metalcore genre's birth as bands like Bullet for My Valentine, Trivium, Killswitch Engage, and Avenged Sevenfold burst onto the scene. While the metalcore style would continue to thrive during the (2010-2019) decade, long-time metal acts, including thrash and hardcore bands, once again became prominent in the metal community. There were many great metal albums released during this decade, and this is my version of the Top 20 Metal Albums of the 2010s. Without further a due, let's jump right in...
This was the 15th studio album by the thrash band. The album sparked high marks, and reviews by metal critics abound, and it was the band's first album to chart on the Billboard 200 in 17 years. Blabbermouth stated that Ironbound "is one of, if not the most ripping collection of tunes this legendary act has ever laid to tape." Frontman Bobby "Blitz" Elsworth continued his reckless vocal assault on the troops with his ferocious range. Tracks like "The Green and Black" and the title track marked another benchmark for the New Jersey band. Definitely one of the best thrash albums of the decade and a metal classic.
Like the title track, this was the thirteenth studio album for Megadeth and marked the return of one of its founding members, bassist David Ellefson. Megadeth had gone through many lineup changes during the prior decade, and this was the first to feature Ellefson since 2001. The album received great critical acclaim and many positive reviews. Thirteen debuted at #11 on the Billboard 200 while selling 42,000 copies the first week. Three singles were released, including the smash hit "Public Enemy #1." An extremely underrated album, this ultimately helped Megadeth climb back to the top of thrash and pop-metal alike.
FOR ALL KINGS (2016)
The Eleventh studio album for the thrash metal giants quickly became one of its best all-time. Of course, it was hard to follow up Worship Music, but this was a great attempt. It was the first album to crack the Billboard 200 Top ten as it hit #9. The album once again featured frontman Joey Belladonna and added a new guitarist in Jon Donais. The album tends to use the ever-powerful formula of old school thrash while mixing in some mainstream riffs and sound styles. For All Kings is an all-out sonic assault on what Anthrax has stood for since its inception. In your face metal, endless hooks and riffs, as well as Joey's signature vocals, put this one on the list.
IV: STURM und DRANG (2015)
Lamb of God
This marked the eighth studio album release for the American groove metal band. It was also the first album to be produced after its lead singer's manslaughter case. Randy Blythe had done time in a foreign prison, and many of the album's tracks were a first-hand account of his experiences. The album also marked the band's return to its stylistic roots as far as sound and vocals. The album was awarded Metal Storms' best thrash album of 2015. Lamb of God can bring it, and this one brings the house down musically and literally. Instant Classic.
GOD DAMN EVIL (2018)
This is by far the heaviest Stryper album of all-time. God Damn Evil also marked the debut of bassist Perry Richardson, formerly of Firehouse. Stryper seems to get better with age as this was not only their heaviest album but quite possibly the best overall album of their career as well. Michael Sweet has one of the greatest metal voices, and he matches that energy on the guitar where he can shred like a wizard. Oz Fox and Sweet are brilliant on this album, and it's a must-listen for all hair metal fanatics.
GOD-GIVEN RIGHT (2015)
The fifteenth studio album by the German power metal band drew instant praise. While the album returned to its stylistic roots, the band could infuse modern elements to captivate the audience. The result was a metal masterpiece. If you're a fan of speed metal, then this is your album. Punch in the mouth guitar riffs, escalator vocals, and crunchy hooks makes this one of Helloween's best. The album reached #27 on the Billboard Top 200 Rock albums while cracking the hard rock category's top ten.
OUTLAW GENTLEMEN & SHADY LADIES (2013)
Volbeat has been a band on the rise for the past decade and a half. Their fifth studio album was an instant classic. The track "Room 24" featured special guest vocalist King Diamond which was later nominated for a Grammy in late 2013 for best metal performance. The album charted at #9 on the Billboard Top 200. Volbeat is a Danish metal band that provides a unique blend of style and sound. In my opinion, this was their best overall metal album to date and belonged on the list for top albums of the decade.
WORLD ON FIRE (2014)
Slash w/ Myles Kennedy
This was the second studio album by Slash with Myles Kennedy on vocals. Myles is a fantastic performer in his own right, and pairing him with one of the greatest guitarists is perfection at its peak. This album has a GNR feel to it but also stands alone. The record has a ton of star power-producing hits. My favorite personal track is "30 Years to Life," which features another signature epic solo by Slash. I used to say that everything Slash touches turns to gold, and this album is no stranger to that. World on Fire reached #10 on the Billboard Top 200 during the first week and was one of 2014's best.
SOL INVICTUS (2015)
Faith No More
Sol Invictus marked Faith No More's first studio album since 1997. This was one of the most highly anticipated albums of the decade, and it did not disappoint. Musically the band continued to dabble in all metal genres on the album as it maintained most of the band's traditional sound. The album sold over 200,000 copies during its first two months of release and ranked in the top 5 on most metal media's top album lists for 2015. The album also won a Metal Hammer Golden God Award for best metal release that same year. Most fans said it was well worth the wait.
KING ANIMAL (2012)
Another highly anticipated drop was released by Soundgarden in 2012 when they put out King Animal. It was the sixth studio album by the band and the first since 1996. The album received great reviews and sparked a massive comeback in the band's following. The first track, "Been Away Too Long," was an instant classic and gave the listeners chills as it incensed the emotion felt from their thirteen-year hiatus. This would sadly be the band's last album before Chris Cornell's untimely death. The album was a cross between Down on The Upside and SuperUnknown.
Dystopia marked the fifteenth studio album released by the colossal thrash metal giants. Staying true to form, this album was an absolute smash hit. The band won a Grammy Award in 2017 for best metal performance on the title track "Dystopia." The album debuted at #3 on the Billboard Top 200 during its first week and sold 48,000 copies. It marked the band's second-highest domestic release all-time behind Countdown to Extinction, which reached #2. Not bad for the metal band that is nearing its fifth decade of existence.
WORSHIP MUSIC (2011)
This was the tenth studio album for the New York thrashers. It also marked the return of original frontman Joey Belladonna. This album was an absolute masterpiece and had the classic Anthrax thrash metal persona. It debuted at #12 on the Billboard Top 200, while some media critics rated it their best album since Persistence of Time, which was released way back in 1990. It featured the original lineup and also included Rob Caggiano on guitars. Top tracks from the album have "Fight 'em Till You Can't," "In the End," and "I'm Alive."
HAIL TO THE KING (2013)
This marked the sixth studio album for one of the top metal bands of the past two decades. AX7 burst onto the scene in the late nineties and became a group with significant star power moving forward. The album debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 while selling 159,000 copies its first week. The album was more of a traditional metal style, drawing comparisons to Metallica, Iron Maiden, and Pantera. The songwriting was more advanced—a must-listen for any die-hard metal fan and a no brainer for the best of the decade.
FEAR INOCULUM (2019)
The long-awaited arrival of Tool's next album finally came in 2019. This was 13 years in the making, and the results were astounding. The third album produced by the band in a row debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200. Selling 270,000 copies in its first week, which shattered their previous record. Oh, and finally receiving not one but TWO Grammy nominations for Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance. Stone cold mortal lock.
BOOK OF SOULS (2015)
No list would be complete without Iron Maiden, one of the pioneers of heavy metal. The album debuted at #4 on the Billboard Top 200, receiving ultra-positive reviews. It was also their first double studio album and became the band's longest full feature album ever. The song "Tears of a Clown" is based on actor Robin Williams's battle with depression and subsequent suicide. It was a powerful album with classic Maiden gallops and some new wrinkles that contained some drop d tuning: overall an excellent album and smash of the 2010s.
Ghost has been one of the best metal bands of the decade, and their third studio album was the crème de la crème. It charted at #8 on the Billboard Top 200 and cemented the band at the top of the spectrum that year. Not only did the album score well, but it also received rave reviews for its power and energy—definitely the heaviest album for the band up until that point and louder than ever. The album won the Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Album of 2015. No more needs to be said.
WE ARE NOT YOUR KIND
Can you say WOW!!! An album that genuinely puts Slipknot on the map with the big boys. I was never a massive fan of the band, but their last few albums have progressively improved, and this was an absolute beast. Corey Taylor is one of the top frontmen in metal today, and his songwriting has become elite. The album debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200, selling 102,000 copies (third-most ever by the band) for a debut. The most experimental album of the band's history and finally one that belongs at the top.
This was the fifth studio album by the band and the first to not include "The Rev," who had recently passed away. It featured Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater) on drums and was the only one of his short stint. Nightmare quickly debuted at #1 and has since been certified gold. It was an incredible album, and a toast to one of the true giants on drums that had tragically went away far too soon. Excellent sound and must-have addition for the 2010's collection. In my opinion, this is the best overall album by Avenged, even though the City of Evil gets more credit.
HARDWIRED...TO SELF DESTRUCT (2016)
Tremendous album from a tremendous band. No major synopsis needed...take one listen to the album and you will ultimately agree.
Great release from top to bottom! The Metal Gods hit a home run on this album. Fourteen tracks of in your face metal and Rob sounds better than ever. It hands down the best metal album of 2018, and this also gets my vote for the most fantastic metal album for the decade. Richie Faulkner is an absolute shredder and has done more than an admirable job taking over for KK Downing. This album packs a punch, and it's all speed all the time.
Check out this cut from the firepower album...you will not be disappointed!
Written By Jason Voorhees
The NFL is an ever-evolving sport, and today's athletes are no different.
Athletes of past and present share two things in common: A desire to win and a commitment to staying in shape to be the best at their respective positions.
The Quarterback position has long been considered the most difficult to succeed in within the NFL. Not only is it the most difficult, but it also remains the most important one on the football field.
With the emergence of better athletes in pro sports today (due to technology and better training), many play styles have been adopted to adapt to the changes in strategy. With that being said, no position in sports has evolved more than the Quarterback Position.
Since the NFL's inception in August of 1920, countless star players have left their mark in the league and entertained fans worldwide. The NFL Hall of Fame enshrines the NFL's best of the best. The HOF comprises players, coaches, owners, and critical contributors that have left that mark.
As of 2019, there are 326 members in the NFL Hall of Fame, 34 having played Quarterback. When we think Quarterback, we think of passing yards; touchdown passes, interceptions wins, playoff wins, and Super Bowls. However, as the NFL game has evolved, so has the Quarterback Position.
The classic "drop back" Quarterback, who was once the norm, has now become a thing of the past. Slowly but surely, NFL QB's have become a "dual-threat" on the battlefield. When taking a closer look at this dual-threat (which can be described by the word mobile-meaning able to escape and extend plays), a few different styles have evolved.
The "mobile" Quarterback has gone through numerous style changes as well as philosophical differences. When looking back at these dual-threat signal-callers' history, we think of Tobin Rote, Bobby Douglass, Fran Tarkenton, and Steve Grogan as being the best of the early ones.
Tobin Rote was a quarterback for the Green Bay Packers during the 1950s. Rote led the NFL in rushing yards by a quarterback six times (1951, 1954-1958) and his 37 Rushing Touchdowns ranks sixth all-time by an NFL signal-caller. What was even more incredible about Rote is that he led his TEAM in rushing three times, during an era where running the ball was a grind it out 3.0 yards per carrying, a cloud of dust down your throat approach style.
He also led his team in rushing TD's five times. The two-time pro bowler is still the only Quarterback to lead an AFL and NFL team to a championship. Rote was one of the earliest examples of dual-threat prowess.
While Rote was the earliest example, Fran Tarkenton was the architect of the "true running" quarterback. Nicknamed the "Mad Scrambler," Tarkenton was indeed a player ahead of his time. Fran produced 3,674 career rushing yards and 32 rushing TD's during what was known as the "STATUE" era of quarterbacks. Statue refers to the drop back in the pocket and waits until someone came open or threw the ball away style.
Tarkenton remains sixth all-time in Quarterback rushing yards. Tarkenton was also lethal through the air while taking the dual-threat motto to new heights. He led the Minnesota Vikings to three Super Bowls during his time there. His passing stats were among the best when he retired from the NFL in 1981 and stood as records at the time.
Other Quarterbacks were mobile and fleet on their feet as the game evolved. The Patriots Steve Grogan was also considered a great escape artist of his time. During his career, he compiled 2,176 Rushing yards and 36 Rushing TD's. Grogan once held the NFL record for rushing TD's by a Quarterback for a season with (12), a record finally broke by Cam Newton in 2011 with 14.
1978 was his best all-around season when he had 539 rushing yards while posting 5 TDs.
The Dual Threat evolution would not be complete without mentioning Bobby Douglass. The former Chicago Bears standout took rushing to new extremes. In 1972, Douglass rushed for a single-season record of 968 Rushing Yards for a QB while scoring 8 TD's on only 141 carries. Michael Vick would eventually break this record; however, Bobby set his record while only playing 14 games, two less than Vick. He also averaged 69.1 yards per game.
Other notable quarterbacks that encompassed the dual-threat narrative during this age were Greg Landry, Roger Staubach, Jim Plunkett, and Vince Evans. As the years passed, the evolution was once again changing.
In 1985, the Philadelphia Eagles drafted Randall Cunningham in the second round of the NFL draft. Cunningham would change the Quarterback position forever while taking "mobile" to the next level. During Randall's career, he amassed 4,982 yards rushing on 775 carries, a 6.4 Yards Per Carry Average, and 35 Rushing Touchdowns. Cunningham's star power as a dual-threat in rushing and passing earned him the nickname "The Ultimate Weapon."
During his career, Cunningham came close to winning the league's MVP award twice. He also was responsible for single-handedly carrying the Eagles during most of his time there due to a lack of supporting cast and a weak offensive line.
In 1990, Randall rushed for 924 yards while scoring five rushing TDs with an 8.0 Yards Per Carry clip. However, not only could Cunningham run the rock, but he could also air it out with the best of them. It was reported that during routine practice, that he flung a ball 80 yards in the air, which may still be a record. It even got crazier when he punted a ball for a record 92 yards in one game against the Giants, which further highlighted the athleticism of the "Ultimate Weapon."
1990 was a fantastic year for Randall, but the most impressive thing about that year was that along with the 924 yards/5Rushing Td's, he also threw for 30TD's/13INT for 3,466 Yards with a long of 95 yards. That 95-yard pass came in a game against the Buffalo Bills, where he miraculously made Bruce Smith miss a sack and safety, while then scrambling the entire width of the end zone to the other side before heaving a bomb that WR Fred Barnett caught at the 50-yard line, which he took for a touchdown.
There is no telling how good Randall could have been if he was surrounded with more talent. He also had Buddy Ryan as his head coach, who knew as much about offense as I do about algebra, and that is very little. Cunningham was also injured for two entire seasons, as he tore both ACLs during two different years. Later in his career, Cunningham joined the Minnesota Vikings, where he enjoyed his best overall season as a pro. During the 1998 season, Randall compiled a 13-1 record while throwing for 3,704 yards, 34 TD's (career-high), while chipping in 132 yards rushing and two rushing TD's.
A few Quarterbacks have since surpassed Cunningham's rushing records. There have been many dual threats to star in this league since him; however, he was a player before his time, and he definitely ushered in the new age of "Mobile" Quarterbacks that we see today.
After Randall, many other great quarterbacks were able to use both threats on the field.
Steve Young, who still holds the career passer rating for Quarterbacks, chipped in a fantastic 4,239 rushing yards, 43 rushing TD's and 6.0 Yards Per Carry Average. Young became the first of the dual-threat QB's to lead his team to a championship. This was always the argument that "mobile" or "running" style QB's cannot win Super Bowls. Well, I think Young proved that theory wrong. Although I will say that Quarterbacks should primarily star through the air, and no one was more proficient at both than Steve Young.
John Elway was also a master of the escape and extending plays with his legs. This is sometimes a forgotten part of John's game. During his career, Elway amassed 3,417 rushing yards and 33 TD's on 774 carries, which was second all-time to Cunningham. He is also the postseason leader in rushing yards by a quarterback with 461 yards and six touchdowns. His four rushing touchdowns in the Super Bowl remains an NFL record.
Ironically, in 1998 the same year that Randall Cunningham was having his resurgence in Minnesota, the Philadelphia Eagles once again drafted a "dual-threat" running QB in Donovan McNabb. He was serenaded to a chorus of boos on draft day, but Eagles fans would soon be regretting their anger. McNabb quickly silenced his critics as he became the team's starting quarterback later that season.
During his career as the Eagles starting QB, he amassed 3,459 Rushing Yards and 29 TDs. However, in a cruel twist of fate, he spent most of his career carrying the Eagles on his shoulders, much the way that Randall once did during his tenure. McNabb suffered from a lack of talent with his supporting cast, especially at the WR position.
In 2004, the one season that McNabb was given a top wide receiver in Terrell Owens, he took the Eagles to the Super Bowl, coming one field goal short of the Eagles first championship.
Donovan McNabb was a more dynamic player than Randall Cunningham ever was, although Randall was probably the better athlete. During his career, McNabb threw for 217 TD's/117INT, along with 37,276 yards. Donovan never wanted to be known as a "running quarterback," always refuting debates and maintaining that he strictly wanted to be considered a drop-back passer. However, there is no denying that his skills on the ground gave him a better chance of winning and enhanced his NFL career. He is the most accomplished quarterback in Eagles history, holding almost every passing record for the franchise.
Around the same time McNabb was coming up through the ranks, his counterpart Michael Vick was emerging as a multi-dimensional star in Atlanta. Mike Vick could be looked at on the opposite side of the spectrum from McNabb, though. Vick now holds almost every career rushing record by a quarterback, and he once again set a new benchmark for dual-threat mobile passers.
Vick rushed for 6,109 yards, 36 TD's, and a 7.0 Yards Per Carry Average during his career. The yards and average are both NFL records while he is third in touchdowns behind Cam Newton and Steve Young. Vick also threw for 22,464 yards passing and 143 TDs. We cannot forget about Mike Vick, when showing his dominant NFL career as a running QB, that he missed three entire seasons in his prime, during his prison sentence after being convicted for dogfighting.
Vick was the fastest of all the QB's as he ran a 4.30 40 yard dash. This speed, combined with his exceptional awareness, probably made him the greatest escape artist in NFL history...up until now. Mike Vick could be considered a human highlight reel on any given Sunday. The plays that Vick made took your breath away. Michael Vick and Donovan McNabb were a part of the new age of dual-threat weapons to enter the NFL.
Other quarterbacks that showed off both skills included Kordell Stewart (Slash) and Daunte Culpepper. This group spawned a new mobile quarterback age that seemed to use running as more of a second option. This next-generation group used the pass to set up the run. Players like Russel Wilson, Cam Newton, Colin Kaepernick, Alex Smith, and many others arrived on the scene and showed new mobile awareness adaptations.
The best of the bunch was Cam Newton and Russel Wilson. In Cam Newton's first season, he passed for 4,051 yards and 21 TD's while rushing for 706 yards and an NFL record 14 TD's. In nine seasons, Newton compiled 4,806 rushing yards and 58 Touchdowns on 5.1 Yards Per Carry Average. While Cam showed off his rushing skills, he had even more success through the air, which was on point with this new "dual-threat" phenomenon. The prototype QB sets up the run by using the pass.
Another Quarterback that showed off this talent and continues to be the crème de la crème is Russel Wilson. Wilson does not have quite the resume on the ground that Newton does, but he has undoubtedly made up for it through the air and became the latest of dual-threat weapons to win a Super Bowl. Wilson has rushed for 3,962 yards, 19 TD's and a 5.6 yards per carrying average. He has thrown for 29,332 yards, 224 TD's, and only 68 INT through the air. This includes 2 (4,000 yard passing seasons) and 6 of ten years over 3,400 yards.
After a decade dominated by QB's named Brady, Brees, Manning and Rothlisberger, there has been a significant renaissance of the NFL's mobile Quarterbacks. Brady and Brees were predominantly drop back passers that operated out of the traditional pocket philosophy.
The new wave of "dual mobile threats" seems to be operating as a hybrid version of this philosophy. They seem to have emphasized developing skills in passing the ball and running it with equal energy. Whether it is to escape incoming sack artists, buying more time till a receiver gets open, or extending a play, or making a broken play into a significant gain, these skills are widespread and on full display throughout the NFL.
Today's mobile quarterbacks are much different. They excel at both sides but seem to have a better idea of when to use which. There is less reckless abandon involved, while they use a more systematic approach. No Quarterback has exemplified this phenomenon more than Lamar Jackson.
The Baltimore Ravens drafted Lamar Jackson in 2018 with the 32nd overall pick. Jackson starred at Louisville in College, where he won the Heisman Trophy and starred as a dual-threat his entire college career. There was talk coming out of college that he did not possess the smarts or skills to transition to being a pro quarterback in the NFL. No one ever questioned his athleticism or that he could make it in the NFL, just that he may not be a good quarterback.
Well, after 2019, Lamar Jackson is making all of those doubters eat crow. After a rookie season in which he only started seven games, the Ravens traded away long term starter Joe Flacco in the offseason. Everyone knew that Lamar was an elite athlete and that Jackson could star as a running quarterback, but no one could have envisioned Lamar doing what he did in 2019. He is on pace to be the de facto NFL MVP of the league in only his second season.
Jackson has been nothing short of a human cheat code. If this was Nintendo, you would be doing many up, down, down, left, right, went, right, B, A, B, And Start. Lamar has filled up a stat sheet like icing in an oreo double stuffed cookie with one game to go. 3,127 Yards Passing, 36TD/6INT, 1,206 Rushing Yards, 6.85YPC, 7 Rushing TD's. These numbers are mind-blowing. The only Quarterback to come close was Randall Cunningham, who everyone agrees was ahead of his time.
Nonetheless, what Lamar Jackson is doing has raised the bar once again as the benchmark for mobile QB's continues to evolve. Other QB's that have shown the new dual-threat combination in today's game include Josh Allen, Mitchell Trubisky, Kyler Murray, Deshaun Watson, and to a lesser extent Carson Wentz, Pat Mahomes, Dak Prescott, and Jimmy Garrapolo. But none of these are on the same level as Lamar.
In conclusion, there has been a significant shift over the years in the mobile dual-threat philosophy and the number of quarterbacks that employ this type of strategy when playing. From the early pioneers of Fran Tarkenton and Tobin Rote. To the game changer and first "Ultimate Weapon" Randall Cunningham. To the first ever cheat code Michael Vick. And now the unstoppable Lamar Jackson.
The mobile dual-threat has evolved and matured into what it has become today. As the seasons go on, it should be interesting to see how this phenomenon continues to change before our eyes as more college quarterbacks try to mimic their game to Lamar. Only one question remains...will this style ever become the dominant quarterback style in the league, and will more dual-threat quarterbacks win Super Bowl championships. The story is yet to be written, but it should be an exciting ride. What a journey it has been.
About Jason Voorhees
Jason resides in Norristown, PA and writes about all things sports and heavy metal music.