Posts Tagged ‘Geoff Schwartz’


JFL Update, Week 4

Posted on: October 3rd, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

https://kckingdom.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/220/files/2013/12/7694520.jpgThe Kansas City Chiefs remain unbeaten (4-0) after field goal with four seconds left on the clock sealed the deal in a 23-20 win over the visiting Washington Redskins. Mitchell Schwartz was the starting right tackle and played on all 76 offensive downs plus another six on special teams. The Chiefs have the highest score differential with +43 and a large part of the credit has to go to the offensive line.

Ali Marpet was the starting center for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and appeared on all 64 offensive downs as the Bucs (2-1) beat the struggling and visiting NY Giants, 23-20 in overtime. With the Giants at 0-4, largely in part to a sluggish offense, why not promote Adam Bisnowaty from the practice squad? What could it hurt?

Nate Ebner made another tackle as part of the New England Patriots’ special teams unit, but it didn’t prevent them from losing 33-30 to the visiting Carolina Panthers. Ebner was on the field for 22 plays, 79 percent of the Pats’ defensive time.

As mentioned in previous entries, I don’t really follow the college gridiron but I make an exception for the exceptional QB Josh Rosen, who beat visiting Colorado on Yom Kippur, 27-23. Rosen threw for 372 yards and one touchdown as UCLA broke a two-game losing streak to move to a 3-2 record. Did Rosen fast, as some other Jewish college players have in the past? Don’t know. But Noah Seligman post this piece about former Wisconsin Badger fullback Matt Bernstein, who had a career day while recovering from his fast in 2004. Gabe Carimi did that, too

Of course, it’s probably harder for football players to take off for the Day of Atonement than any other sport. I can’t do the math, but between the college and pro ranks, most games take place Friday, Saturday, or Sunday (yes, I know about Monday Night Football — which are played on both Mondays and Thursdays now), so there’s only a few days it could actually be a conflict. On the other hand, since there are much fewer games than other sports, each one can have a major impact on the outcome of the season. Where you play on the field can make a difference, too. I did a story for the NJ Jewish News several years ago about a Jewish punter who said he felt pressure to play on Yom Kippur because there were no real substitutes for his position.

Not a football issue, but Omri Casspi choose to sit out of the pre-season opener for his new NBA team, the Golden State Warriors, because it fell on the holy day. Not exactly taking as dramatic a stand like Koufax (first game of 1965 World Series) and Greenberg (during a tight pennant race in 1934), but it’s better than all the Jewish Major Leaguers did as their season wound to a close.

JFL Update, Week 3

Posted on: September 26th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

More news off the field than on, thanks to Trump’s recent screeds about lack of respect in sports, particularly, the NFL. Maybe this was an elaborate collaboration between the President and the NFL to boost sagging ratings, since so many would supposedly tune in to see what would happen? Yes? No?

It’s not the purview of this blog to deal with politics, but when they intrude on sports, that’s my opening. I think that 95 percent (at least) of the stuff that comes out of Trump’s whatever (to use one of his phrases) is BS designed to garner him the attention he evidently needs like plants need sunshine. Okay, that’s it for me…for now.


The Kansas City Chiefs improved to 3-0 following their 24-10 win over the host LA Chargers. Mitchell Schwartz was the starting right tackle and appeared on all 53 offensive plays plus another five (19 percent) on special teams. According to at least one source, however, Schwartz’s play was one of the disappointing factors in this one. On the other hand, there’s praise as well.

Image result for geoff schwartz espn radioAs for his brother, Geoff, who retired after last season, he the co-host of a football related talk show in Sirius Radio’s NFL Channel, #88, which can be heard every Saturday from 4-8 pm PST.  Geoff (photo at right) is also one of a group of co-hosts who rotate on ESPN Radio (espnradio.com), wrapping up the day’s NFL activities. And no, that doesn’t mean the spin in their chairs.

Ali Marpet played every snap (53) behind QB as the new center for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-1) in their 34-17 loss to the host Minnesota Vikings. He was flagged for a five-yard, false start penalty.

Nate Ebner made his first appearance of the new season, contributing to a tackle for the New England Patriots (2-1) in their 36-31 win over the visiting Houston Texans.


Not really a big college football guy. I went to a D-III school and unless you have some relationship with a school, why bother? But Josh Rosen, a junior QB for UCLA, seems to be something special, although there’s some controversy over just how good he is. UCLA is 2-2, with home wins over Texas A&M and Hawaii followed by consecutive road losses to Memphis (by just three points) and Stanford. Rosen ranks 29th in the country in Quarterback Ratings and is garnering at least some attention from NFL scouts.

According to the latest issue of Jewish Sports Review, in addition to Rosen, these are among the D-I players to watch:

  • QB Neven Sussman (Junior, Albany)
  • Offensive tackle Jordan Lewinsky (Senior, Drake)
  • Receiver Joe Fine (Senior, Bryant)
  • OT Zach Novoslesky, (Junior, West Michigan)
  • OL Kyle Ritz (Junior, Akron)
  • Center Jack Singer (Junior, UNLV)
  • Placekicker Morgan Ellman (Senior, New Hampshire)
  • Placekicker Oren Millstein (Sophomore, Columbia)
  • Placekicker Josh Pollack (Red shirt Junior, Arizona)
  • Placekicker Jack Soslow (Junior, Pennsylvania) So-slow? Not a great name for an athlete.
  • Punter Jordan Dascalo (Senior, Eastern Washington)
  • Punter Max Pedinoff (Senior, New Hampshire)

Good lucks, boys. Make us proud.

Shalom, Geoff Schwartz

Posted on: February 22nd, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

In this case, I’m using the word for both “goodbye” and “peace.”

It should not come as a giant surprise that the former Giant (and Panther and Viking and Chief) has announced his retirement. He did not play last season and only appeared in  13 of 36 games for New York over his two seasons with them due to an unfortunate series of injuries.

Image result for geoff schwartz familyOne of the things Jewish football fans appreciated about both him and his younger brother Mitchell — who is already being recognized as one of the best at his O-Line position — was how they embrace their religion. They were frequent guests at Jewish day schools and JCCs and earlier this month, they were among a group of local personalities inducted into the Southern California Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. I found it charming that their recent joint memoir, Eat My Schwartz: Our Story of NFL Football, Food, Family, and Faith, started off with the family celebrating Hanukka. Sweet.

Geoff wrote about his decision on SBNation. I’m sure he’ll do well; he spent the past season as an analyst for several on-line and broadcast outlets. And despite all the enjoyment he and his family have received through the sport, I can’t help thinking they’re kind of glad he’s getting out while he’s young and in relative good health.

Mazel tov, Geoff, and thanks for the memories.

Image result for geoff schwartz family

Nate Ebner: “Natural” Man

Posted on: February 8th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

Don’t know what kind of message this sends to the kiddies out there that New England Patriots defensive back and Olympic (and Maccabiah) athlete Nate Ebner was caught imbibing during the team’s victory parade yesterday.

Nate Ebner drinks Natural Light.

In other football news:

  • Questionable Jew Julian Edelman is making the rounds, talking about his amazing catch.
  • Former JFLer Geoff Schwartz thinks it might come down to a question of “what have you done for me lately” as the Pats figure out what to do with fan favorite but oft-injured Rob Gronkowski.
  • Didn’t the NCAA season just end a few weeks ago? This preview for UCLA — which is looking forward to the return of quarterback Josh Rosen after the injury which cost him most of the season — just goes to show there’s no off-season anymore.

I have to admit, this is a tough time for me now that football is over. Baseball hasn’t started yet and basketball and hockey are a little past the halfway mark, so nothing very exciting his happening there. Makes blogging a bit difficult.

Football foibles: Nate Ebner et al

Posted on: December 2nd, 2016 by Ron Kaplan

A quick recap of the latest gridiron new (dare I say “pigskin?”)

  • http://a4.espncdn.com/combiner/i?img=%2Fphoto%2F2016%2F0322%2Fr66066_1296x729_16-9.jpgNew England Patriot Nate Ebner is dealing with concussion symptoms and is questionable for Sunday’s game against the visiting LA Rams.
  • Will this be the weekend Daniel Braverman makes his NFL debut? His Chicago Bears host the San Francisco 49ers.
  • Former offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz, right, who seems to be leaning towards a career as an analyst/broadcaster these days, was a recent guest on the Sports Illustrated podcast Media Circus with Richard Deitsch.
  • Freshman placekicker Oren Millstein of the Columbia University Lions earned All-Ivy honors.

A quick rekap

Posted on: November 14th, 2016 by Ron Kaplan 1 Comment

It’s been such a long time, I don’t know where to begin.

We’re going to “forget” the end of the baseball season, although mazel tov to the Cubs and their long-suffering fans.

So right now we’re in the middle of the NFL and beginnings (relatively) of the NBA and NHL campaigns. There have been a number of  changes in personnel.


eat-my-schwartz_book-jacketOne-half of the Schwartz Force is gone, with Mitchell now playing for the Kansas City Chiefs and Geoff not playing at all. Geoff, who suffered injuries that curtailed his playing time over the past couple of years, is currently very active as an analyst for a variety of outlets.

Also idle: Taylor Mays, who was suspended the first four games of the season for violating the league’s drug policy.

So that leaves just two:

  • Nate Ebner of the New England Patriots, who, according to at least one source, is having his best year ever.
  • Ari Marpet, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, now in his second year

And Julian Edelman is still not Jewish.


https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/8e/Omri_gasspi_israel-finland.jpgThe Sacramento Kings’ Omri Casspi is the only Jew currently playing in the league. Casspi has appeared in six games (one as a starter), missing two of the last three via “DNP-CD” (did not play, coach’s decision). The Kings , 4-7 and fourth in the Pacific Division, had also signed Jordan Farmar, but the released. Then they signed him again. Then they released him again… Stay tuned.


Like the NFL, the Jews  on ice have dwindled in number since last season. Right now we have

  • Michael Cammalleri, a 34-year-old left-winger for the NJ Devils (8-3-3, 3rd in Metropolitan Division). The all-time scoring leader among Jews in the NHL with 280 goals and 308 assists, he’s got three of each in 12 games this season. Cams has missed the last two contests for “personal reasons.”
  • Jason Demers, a 28-year-old defenseman for the Florida Panthers (7-7-1, 6th in Atlantic Division). Two goals and five assists in 15 games.
  • Zach Hyman, a 24-year-old center for the Toronto Maple Leafs (6-6-3, 6th in Atlantic Division). Two goals and one assist in 15 games.
  • Jason Zucker, a 24-year-old left-winger for the Minnesota Wild (8-5-1, 3rd in Central Division). Two goals/five assists in 17 games.

Gone (but not forgotten)

  • Eric Nystrom, who appeared in 593 games for four teams in his 10-year career.
  • Mike Brown, the “enforcer” who put in time with six clubs in his 407 NHL games.

Needless to see, this is a work in progress as I get my feet wet again. If there’s anyone you know of who I missed, please don’t be shy to let me know.

JFLers and the Yom Kippur dilemma

Posted on: September 8th, 2016 by Ron Kaplan 1 Comment

This year, the Day of Atonement begins on a Tuesday night and ends the following evening, so Ali Marpet, Nate Ebner, and Mitchell Schwartz don’t have to worry about missing a game.

Offensive liner Geoff Schwartz. Photo: Twitter.Mitchell’s brother, Geoff, an offensive lineman recently released by the Detroit Lions, is making the rounds to promote Eat My Schwartz: Our Story of NFL Football, Food, Family, and Faith, which they released earlier this month. He was on NPR’s Brian Lehrer Show on Tuesday and the issue came up.

Schwartz said “there is a “’high standard’ people believe athletes with Jewish roots have to ‘live up to’ in regards to keeping Judaism. He referenced former baseball player Sandy Koufax, who famously refused to pitch in Game 1 of the 1965 World Series because it fell on Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement.

“Schwartz, who used to play for the Detroit Lions and New York Giants, explained on the radio show that a move like Koufax’s would not be acceptable in the NFL.

“‘It’s different in football,’ he said. ‘In college you have 12 [football] games a year; in the NFL you have 16. You train for six months for this opportunity, so it’s hard to be starting off as an offensive lineman and then [you] tell your coach, “Hey, I’m not gonna be here this week to play a game.” It doesn’t really work that way.’

One of the first sports stories I did for the Jewish News, pre-Korner days, was a profile of Josh Miller, a punter for the Pittsburgh Steelers and other teams. Quoting from the story which originally appear in October, 2004:

Miller took a fair amount of criticism when he was with the Steelers and decided to play the Oct. 6, 2003, night game against the Cleveland Browns — erev Yom Kippur. He defended his position, telling the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: “In reality, it’s my job. I need to be there…. I have to show up regardless of how I feel about it.”

Miller pointed out that as a punter, a very specialized position, the team didn’t have the luxury of backups as they do for other position, so the pressure to play was even more intense.

Of course, people will tell you a principle is a principle and sometimes it’s not easy to make that difficult choice. It always easy to tell other people what they should do. But when it comes time to put metal to the pedal (or however that phrase goes)… not so easy.

Football chatter

Posted on: September 7th, 2016 by Ron Kaplan

Geoff Schwartz remains a player without as team as the season kicks off tomorrow. Maybe he can take some solace as the new book, cowritten with brother Mitchell (now with the KC Chiefs) starts to garner attention, including in this piece from the JTA.

Geoff and Mitch Schwartz

I received a review copy of Eat My Schwartz: Our Story of NFL Football, Food, Family, and Faith a few weeks back. I was impressed that they start off with the faith part, discussing family gatherings at Hanukka. Had to put it aside though, as the deadline for my own book — Hank Greenberg in 1938: Hatred and Home Runs in the Shadow of War — looms closer (Shameless self-promotion).

JTA also ran this profile on Mark Wilf, co-owner of the Minnesota Vikings. (More SSP: Here’s the story I wrote about his brother Zygi, when the Wilfs took over the team in 2006)

Mark Wilf, a co-owner of the Minnesota Vikings, at the team's gigantic Nordic horn in its new $1.1 billion stadium. (Hillel Kuttler)

So right now, the only Jews in the NFL are, by my count

  • Mitchell Schwartz
  • Nate Ebner, New England Patriots
  • Ari Marpet, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

And no, Julian Edelman is still not Jewish according to the regs of the Jewish Sports Review.


JFL, end of regular season

Posted on: January 5th, 2016 by Ron Kaplan

Someone at NFL Communications dropped the ball, as it were. They usually post “Game Books,” a PDF of all the games for the week. I use that to report of which MOT played, for how long, and what, if anything special, did they do. Somehow, the final week’s worth hasn’t made it yet. Holiday weekend? Come on, folks, get it together.

So for now I’ll have to rely on other sources. Wish me luck.

The New England Patriots lost for the second week in a row, falling to the host Miami Dolphins, 20-10. Future Hall of Famer Tom Brady was injured and eyebrows have been raised over whether coach Bill Belichick did the right thing in having his start quarterback in for so long in such a relatively meaningless game. Free safety Nate Ebner appeared on 27 special teams plays (90 percent), making one tackle. The Patriots — 12-4, tops in the AFC East — have a first-round bye in the playoffs, so they’ll have to wait and see who they’ll face.

Of course, the NY Jets couldn’t count on the Cleveland Browns to defeat the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers. But you can count on Mitchell Schwartz to start at right tackle. He appeared on offense for all 83 snaps plus another four plays (16 percent) on special teams. He also made a tackle on a fumble recovery by the Steelers, who won the game 28-12 to clinch an AFC wild card spot. The Browns, at 3-13, finished last in the AFC North.

Brother Geoff Schwartz missed the NY Giants’ final loss of the year (and coach Tom Coughlin’s career with the team) as they fell to the visiting Philadelphia Eagles, 35-30. The Giants were up 27-21 but the Eagles went ahead in the third quarter on a fumble recovery/interception hybrid that went for a touchdown. They finish third in the NFC East with a record of 6-10.

Taylor Mays and the Oakland Raiders finished their season at 7-9, third in the AFC West, with a 23-17 loss to the host Kansas City Chiefs. Mays was a starting safety, appearing in 35 plays on defense (54 percent) with an even dozen  (41 percent) on special teams. He made two solo tackles and assisted on another.

Ali Marpet finished up his rookie campaign as the starting right guard for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-10) in their 38-10 loss to the 15-1 Carolina Panthers. Marpet appeared on all 74 offensive plays plus another two (8 percent) on special teams.

Dallas Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee may not be Jewish, but he’s still a mensch. He sat out Sunday’s 34-23 loss to the visiting Washington Redskins because of a hamstring strain. That might cost him $2 million. He had to appear in 80 percent of the team’s snaps to qualify for the bump, but came up short. He might have tried to make a go of it, but said he didn’t feel he could help them team. Wonder if Dallas will pay him anyway or pull a Charles Comiskey:

Never too soon to plan for the next big thing

Posted on: January 4th, 2016 by Ron Kaplan

NY Giants offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz missed the last several games with a broken leg, but that doesn’t mean he’s been taking it easy. Evidently, he’s already looking at life after his playing days are over, which, we hope, won’t be for a long time.

Schwartz was a guest commentator yesterday on ESPN



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