Definitively Power Ranking the Best Thanksgiving Foods

In just a few short days, the greatest eating day of the year will be upon us. Thanksgiving is the absolute best excuse to drown anything wrong in your life with some delicious food. Before I get to my list, I wanna set a few ground rules.

  1. I strictly stuck to classic Thanksgiving dinner foods. I didn’t do appetizers, desserts, or anything that may not be considered a “classic” (ex. I know a lot of people do mac n’ cheese on Thanksgiving, but personally my family doesn’t so I left it off the list.)
  2. If you disagree with me calm down, it’s a fucking blog about Thanksgiving food
  3. Sorry I got a little heated with #2, food is a sensitive topic
  4. I took into account the food’s place in Thanksgiving, not just how good it is overall

Here we go, power ranking the best 5 Thanksgiving foods:

5. Cranberry Sauce

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Also commonly referred to as “turkey lube” (never actually heard that but I’m trademarking it now), cranberry sauce is definitely one of those “Thanksgiving only” foods. I think that’s dumb because it’s really freaking good. If I walk into a deli in July and order a turkey sandwich with cranberry sauce, I’d get looked at like I have three heads. But November is pretty much a free pass to order Thanksgiving food all the time. Don’t sleep on the Thanksgiving bowl from Wawa, the Fat Pilgrim from CARS (for the Bergen County readers), and the Thanksgiving Wrap from Hansel (for the Rutgers readers.) It’s the perfect complement to turkey, and even better on sandwiches. No disrespect to it at #5, cranberry sauce is absolutely a Thanksgiving essential.

4. Mashed Potatoes

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Kind of surprised myself putting mashed potatoes at #4 since I consider them one of my favorite foods, but they’re socially acceptable to eat year round unlike most other foods on this list. They also go great with turkey and in sandwiches, and you can use them to pick up anything else on your plate for a bigger bite (vegetables, stuffing, etc.) Big bites = big flavor, that’s a life hack. Just make sure you keep your mouth closed while you chew. Also, PSA: gravy ruins mashed potatoes. I don’t care how unpopular of an opinion this is, keep the gravy away from my plate.

3. Turkey

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While I’m very confused as to why we only eat some of these delicious foods on Thanksgiving, I kinda get why a full turkey is a once a year thing. It takes a long time to make, and it’s a shit ton of food. That being said, turkey is absolutely delicious. They call it “Turkey Day” for a reason. After Thanksgiving dinner, at least my next 3 meals will include turkey in some form, most likely in a leftover sandwich. They say “you can’t have Thanksgiving without turkey,” and I pretty much agree with that statement. You can do ham or roast beef in addition to the turkey, but not instead of it. Despite that, turkey is not the #1 Thanksgiving food.

2. Stuffing

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Look at that beautiful bowl of carbs. Stuffing is sick and it’s a tragedy we only have it on Thanksgiving. It’s like having a girlfriend who you can only see once a year. Consider Thanksgiving Day the equivalent of getting the “my parents aren’t home ;)” text from bae, and crushing a bunch of stuffing is basically just you Razor scootering over to her house. (Side note: overeating and your stomach violently hurting is also the metaphorical equivalent to hitting yourself in the shin with said Razor scooter, just brutal.)

1. Sweet Potatoes

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If you’re saying,”A vegetable #1? What’s this dumbass saying?”, then you’ve clearly never had candied sweet potatoes. These things taste so good and are so covered in sugar/syrup/whatever else that you can’t even taste the fact that there’s a vegetable somewhere in there. They’re pretty much only a holiday thing, which makes them even better. So no, Michelle Obama, you do NOT win this round. Candied sweet potatoes ftw, maybe if you’re lucky I’ll have a bite of salad or something.

Condoleezza Rice Being a Head Football Coach Makes as Much Sense as Having a Reality Star for President

A pretty surprising rumor spread around the NFL today:

Former Secretary of State under the George W. Bush Administration could be the next Browns head coach? When you’re as bad as Cleveland has been for the past decade, you really have to explore ALL options. Crazier things have certainly happened. I mean Magic Johnson has a Grammy and Kobe has an Oscar. Apply for the job you want, not the one you’re qualified for.

Unfortunately, there is absolutely no truth to the rumors. The Browns have denied it, and Rice turned down the job almost immediately.

This would certainly be an unprecedented moment in NFL and US history. It might rival Trump becoming President, which whether you are a Democrat or Republican have to acknowledge is a wild concept. It’s like if JJ Watt became the next Crocodile Hunter (RIP Steve Irwin). It would just be a head-scratcher. Although, Watt versus the crocs of Australia would be must-watch television. That’s a free idea, Animal Planet. Run with it.

I know this wasn’t something the team actually tried to do, but to be honest I believed for a second it was happening. They have officially entered the “Fuck it” zone and any rumor I hear about them is credible. If you told me the front office hired my Operations Management professor as a special advisor to try to streamline the offensive efficiency, I’d buy it. If I heard Denzel Washington got a phone call about the being next head coach, I’d head to Google to see if he took the job.

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The Browns overall just need to stop trying to be a successful franchise. The NFL is a lot more fun with them as the “bad team”. When the Seahawks clock in for a qualified stinker, at least I can fall back on the fact that Hue Jackson was 3-36-1. Somebody needs to set the low-bar, and life is better/funnier when it’s the Browns. It’s like, I know I’m a really bad cook, but when I hear that some people my age don’t know how to boil water, it makes me think maybe I should submit for some open chef jobs. The Browns being historically atrocious keeps things in the status quo. Please, never change.

 

 

 

McGon’s Picks: NFL Week 11

It looks like I should pick against the Cowboys more often…

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…cause then maybe they’ll win more games.

While I was right that the Cowboys would cover this spread, I picked against them outright for the first time this year, and to no surprise they won over the Eagles as 7.5 point dogs.

So while it was a great weekend for me as a fan, it was a tough one for my picks. I went 7-7 outright, and 5-8-1 against the spread. Here’s a look bad at the picks I made (correct pick in blue, incorrect pick in red, push in green):

Panthers and Steelers (-3.5)

Bills at Jets (-6.5)

  • Bet on this game but wasn’t able to watch. After watching the highlights, I’m happy I wasn’t watching cause I would have been questioning if I still have any credibility picking games at all

Saints at Bengals (+6)

Patriots at Titans (+6.5)

Cardinals at Chiefs (-16.5)

Redskins at Bucs (-3.5)

Lions (+7) at Bears

  • You don’t cover often when your kicker hits the upright FOUR times

Falcons at Browns (+6)

Jaguars (+3) at Colts

Chargers at Raiders (+10)

Dolphins (+12) at Packers

Seahawks (+10) at Rams

Cowboys (+7.5) at Eagles

Giants at 49ers (-3)

2018 Straight-Up: 88-58-2, 2018 vs. Spread: 68-76-4

Week 11 time.

Packers at Seahawks (-3)

  • Seahawks 27, Packers 24
  • 1-0-1 to start the week

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Texans (-3) at Redskins

  • Texans are hot (6-0 since 0-3 start) and coming off the bye
  • Redskins are banged up, and coming off a bad loss and an ugly win over the last 2 games
  • Road teams are 7-2-1 off the bye this season
  • Could be a sucker pick (69% on HOU as of Thursday night), but I have the Texans by a score

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Bengals at Ravens

  • The spread to this game has not been announced yet, I’ll announce my pick from Twitter @mikejmcgon

Steelers at Jaguars (+5)

  • THIS is the last week I’m giving for Jaguars to have any of last season in them
  • Last year the Steelers lost only 4 times, and TWICE were at home to the Jaguars, including the Divisional playoffs
  • Jaguars will be motivated to continue to be the Steelers’ kryptonite and will cover at home, but the Steelers are the way better team this year and win outright

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Panthers at Lions (+4.5)

  • It may feel like the Lions got crushed last week, but they lost by 12 with 4 field goals hitting the upright
  • Lions due for a better home performance, play the Panthers who got demolished in Pittsburgh
  • Public hammering Carolina (80% as of Thursday night), give me the Lions covering, but Panthers winning by a field goal

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Cowboys (+3) at Falcons

  • It’s hard to put too much stock in a team based off of one game (especially the Cowboys), but I think Dallas can build off last week big time
  • The OLine played much better, Amari Cooper is a true threat in this offense, and that opens up the field for Zeke and for Dak to play as he has shown he’s capable of
  • You never know which Falcons team you’re gonna get, but I think they took a big step back in that loss last week
  • Cowboys win a close one

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Titans at Colts (-1)

  • Could be my favorite pick of the week
  • Public loves hot Titans, but it’s easy to overlook that the Colts have won 3 in a row
  • Don’t let the last 2 games fool you- the Titans are only a decent team, and not very good on the road
  • Home Colts win by a score

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Bucs (+1.5) at Giants

  • Don’t let last week fool you- the Giants still stink
  • Last week was bad, but the Bucs still have a much more explosive offense than the Giants
  • Giants aren’t putting 2 in a row together, Bucs win on the road

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Raiders at Cardinals (-5.5)

  • Raiders have become hopeless in any matchup
  • Cardinals have played some competitive games of late
  • Not a blowout, but Cardinals win comfortably by a TD

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Broncos (+7) at Chargers

  • Broncos coming off bye and will likely have “home field advantage” in LA
  • Broncos have lost 3 of 4, but all 3 were by 7 or less
  • Chargers are the much better team though and will win, but by less than a TD

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Eagles (+8.5) at Saints

  • Despite their 4-5 record, the Eagles have been underdogs just once- by 1 point to the Falcons, and they were favored in that one til the last minute
  • We all know the Eagles love the underdog mentality and will come out strong against the team trying to take their throne this year
  • But the Saints are too good this year and will win by a TD with the Eagles covering

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Vikings at Bears (-3)

  • The Bears are for real- they are 6-3, and should’ve beaten the Packers and Dolphins
  • Kirk Cousins is good, but never wins on the big stage
  • Bears show they’re the team to beat in the North and win by a score

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Chiefs at Rams (-3.5)

  • Patrick Mahomes is the the NFL’s new star QB, but Sean McVay is the NFL’s new mastermind
  • Rams are 1-5-1 in last 7 ATS, they’re due to cover again soon
  • Public absolutely hammering KC (85% as of Thursday night), give me the Rams by a score

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Be back for Week 12. Who wins in #MexicoCityGate?

Steve Pearce: The Forrest Gump of the AL East

We are now nearly three weeks removed from the World Series.  In the modern media climate, two weeks is an eternity, but that will not keep me from addressing a hidden subplot from this year’s Fall Classic.  Steve Pearce has become the Forrest Gump of the American League East.  Forrest had a knack for finding his way to historical events and being around different United States presidents.  Take a look at Steve Pearce.  He has the same knack but in terms of the AL East.

First off, this guy has played for all five teams in the afore-mentioned division.  OK, big deal.  Eric Hinske probably did too (I do not feel like looking up whether he actually did or did not), and nobody outside of his family really cares about his baseball career.  Well, Pearce is a different story.  He is an ex-Yankee who won the World Series MVP for the Red Sox.  Now, some of you might be thinking, “Yeah, but he was on the Yankees for all of a half-hour in 2012”.  True, I do not know if he ever did anything that memorable as a Yankee.  However, he is quite responsible for one of the most celebrated moments in recent Yankees history.

In 2014, Steve Pearce – then an Oriole – hit the game-tying homerun in the Top of the 9th Inning of Derek Jeter’s last game at Yankee Stadium.  Do you remember having that feeling, “Oh my God, the Orioles just gave up a 3-run lead in the 9th so that Derek Jeter can bat in the Bottom of the 9th.”  I remember having that feeling.  I remember the Bottom of the 9th feeling scripted.  I remember feeling goosebumps and actually feeling slightly happy when Jeter drove in the winning run.  None of that would have happened if it were not for ex-Yankee, future-World Series MVP for Boston, and then-Oriole Steve Pearce. 

We will save his big moments as a Ray and as a Blue Jay for another day, a day when there are literally zero remaining topics on Earth for me to cover.  For now though, remember that Steve Pearce is the Forrest Gump of the AL East.

If You Had to Pick One Player In Your Rival Team’s History To Play For Your Team, Who Would It Be?

I just saw this question on Twitter, and it really got me thinking. You spend so much time rooting against the players on your rival teams that you never really consider, what if they were playing for my team instead? As a die-hard Yankee fan, my most hated rival team is clearly the Red Sox. I saw another Yankee fan answer this with Pedro Martinez, or perhaps Mookie Betts. For me, the answer is clear. I would have wanted David Ortiz on my team 100%.

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As a Yankee fan, I absolutely hate the guy. There has never been a bigger Yankee killer than David Ortiz. The Red Sox’ 2004 ALCS comeback doesn’t even start without his heroics in Games 4 and 5. So as much as I hate him for that, as well as the fact that everyone lets him off the hook for being named in the Mitchell Report, the guy was a damn good hitter. In my mind, he’s the most clutch hitter of all-time, or at the very least of my generation. If you don’t think he could’ve helped the Yankees win more than just the one title they won during his career (2009), you’re insane.

 

As for my other teams’ rivals, here are my “Honorable Mention” picks behind Ortiz:

Giants: Sean Taylor (Redskins); absolute savage, Rest in Peace.

Knicks: Kevin Garnett (Celtics); I guess they were kind of rivals for that like season and a half stretch where the Knicks were pretty good?

Rangers: Martin Brodeur (Devils); Why wouldn’t you want the best goalie of all time on your team?

UNC Basketball: Zion Williamson (Duke); I don’t care if he’s only played two games, watch this kid play for 30 seconds and you’ll understand why I picked him.

Rutgers Football: Our only rival is our coaching staff’s ability to recruit.

What about you? If you could have picked a rival player to put on your team’s jersey, who would it be?

Creed 2 Comes Out in a Week

I was always a big fan of the Rocky movies, and Creed just took everything about the Rocky movies and made it 100 times better. Michael B. Jordan is the best lead actor the series has ever seen (no offense to Sylvester Stallone), Stallone himself puts in his best performance in Creed, and modern technology made the fight scenes much better than in the older movies. All that being said, Rocky IV is also one of my favorite movies of all time. I mean, Rocky going to Soviet Russia on Christmas Day, in the middle of the Cold War, to fight a roided-up Soviet Ivan Drago, who he watched kill his close friend Apollo Creed in the ring? What kind of storyline could match that? How about Apollo’s son Adonis fighting Drago’s son? Well, that’s exactly what we get with Creed 2.

Throw in the fact that Adonis’ girlfriend, Bianca’s hearing is still deteriorating, and the two now have a child together, there is so much more on the line in this movie than the original. The original is already my favorite movie! Creed exceeded my expectations in every single way. I’ve never been more excited for a movie, next week can’t come soon enough.

 

Celebrating My Favorite Professional Athlete of All Time, Martin Brodeur

On Monday; Martin Brodeur, my favorite athlete of all time, will enter the Hockey Hall of Fame.  Although I tend to spend less time thinking about the Football Hall of Fame and Hockey Hall of Fame than I do about the Baseball Hall of Fame, this is the most excited I have been about someone’s induction into any of the three.  If you watch any of the induction coverage, you will hear about Brodeur’s many, many records and his incredible statistics.  You will hear some people say that he is the greatest goalie of all time.  I happen to echo that sentiment, as he was dominant from 1993 to 2007 and very good from 2007 to 2010 (those endpoints and adjectives are, of course, subjective).  Patrick Roy was great, but he did not have a run of dominance nor consistency that lasted as long as Brodeur’s.  That said, my excitement for Brodeur’s induction stems mainly from the great moments of my life that he created.

To a non-sports fan, it is silly to hear that some of a person’s greatest moments in life involved watching athletes the person has never met.  I do not care.  Watching sports has given me many wonderful moments, and I want to touch on those involving Brodeur. 

*In 1993-4, the Devils had their best regular season to that point, and they won their first two playoff series of my fandom before falling to the Rangers in the best series I have ever watched.  The loss to the Rangers and “Matteau!  Matteau!” was devastating, but the joy in watching the Devils reel off 11 playoff wins before that loss was wonderful.  Though Martin Brodeur split time that regular season with Chris Terreri, Brodeur won the Calder Trophy for Rookie of the Year and started all but three of the playoff games.  That playoff run was my “coming of age” as a hockey fan, and Brodeur was a big part of the run.

*On June 24, 1995; I sat with my family in then-Brendan Byrne Arena as the Devils hoisted the Stanley Cup, representing the first championship for a true New Jersey team.  I was also present at the Meadowlands for a thrilling 1-0 overtime win over Boston in Round 1 (Randy McKay with the GWG), the Conference-clinching win against the rival Flyers, and the Devils’ Game 3 win over the Red Wings in the Finals.  Of course, the Devils ultimately swept the Red Wings in four.  Although I had been a casual Devils fan from Kindergarten (1987-8) through fifth grade (1992-3), it always seemed to me that the Cup was reserved for teams from Canada and the Penguins.  When the hated Rangers beat the Devils in 1994 en route to the Cup, I was upset but had hope that the Devils could someday win the Cup.  That “someday” came the very next season, and Martin Brodeur dominated for four rounds.  Thank you, Marty, for those nine glorious weeks of hockey.

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Image via SI.com

*On August 8, 1996; Martin Brodeur came to the grand opening of Garden State Plaza’s Lord & Taylor (only a few years after I had learned that the store chain was not actually owned by Lawrence Taylor).  My mom brought my brother, two friends, and me to the opening and to get Brodeur’s autographs.  My brother ended up with a picture in the newspaper with Brodeur.  We were all a bit jealous of him, but it was a great moment nonetheless!

*On April 17, 1997; I was sitting at then-Continental Airlines Arena (nee Brendan Byrne Arena), as the Devils nursed a 4-2 lead in Game 1 of the first round of the playoffs against the Canadiens.  My friend Scott said, “Wouldn’t it be awesome if Brodeur scored a goal here?”  Sure enough, he did.  We jumped up and down a whole lot; it was pure elation.  I have watched this highlight a million times, and I get chills every time.

*On June 10, 2000; less than two weeks before my high-school graduation, I sat in my living room with my family and some good friends.  We watched Devils/Stars Game 6 extend into double overtime, when Jason Arnott’s goal clinched the Devils their second Cup.  Pure elation yet again.  As was the case in 1995, Brodeur backstopped the Devils the whole way through the playoffs.  The playoffs were a very busy time for me, as I had many exciting moments involving my pending HS graduation; but the Cup run was every bit as exciting as the high-school stuff.

*On June 9, 2003; my family was in Continental Airlines Arena again, as Martin Brodeur pitched a 3-0 shutout in Game 7 vs. the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.  This was Brodeur’s third shutout of the Finals and seventh of the playoffs and gave the Devils their third Stanley Cup.  At this point, I had finished my junior year of college, and Brodeur was one of only five Devils remaining continuously from the team’s first Stanley Cup.  It was the 10th year in a row in which Brodeur dominated and the 10th year in a row in which the Devils looked like a Cup contender for many parts of the season.  I enjoyed the first half of the playoff run at Colgate, as I wrapped up my junior year.  Then, I enjoyed the Conference Finals and Stanley Cup Finals back at home in Midland Park (NJ) with many of my high-school friends.

*On April 29, 2006; Brodeur earned the victory as the Devils finished off a four-game sweep of the Rangers in Round 1 of the playoffs.  While the Devils had already tripled the Rangers’ number of Cups in my lifetime, it was nevertheless a huge thrill to beat the Rangers in a playoff series for the first time.  While athletes sometimes have less passion than fans do, we Devils fans always loved that Brodeur hated the Rangers as much as we did.  That series win was big for all of us.  This win happened nearly two years into my working career (at the parent company of AvisBudget) but provided me with great revenge for the Rangers’ series win from when I was in sixth grade (1994).

*On March 17, 2009; Brodeur earned his 552nd win, to break Patrick Roy’s record.  While there was initially an asterisk here, due to Brodeur’s having opportunities at shootout wins; Brodeur would ultimately surpass Roy’s total by a greater amount than Brodeur’s number of shootout wins.  Thus, the euphoria I felt standing in the last row of The Rock (Prudential Center) was not phony.  I stood there with my brother and three friends as Brodeur cut the netting off the net to keep as a souvenir.  This was the first big moment at The Rock, and The Rock probably never would have even been built if it were not for all of Brodeur’s success at Continental Airlines Arena.  (The Rock opened in 2007.)  At this point, I was two years into my teaching career at Ramsey High School, and it was awesome to reflect on the 552 wins.  I thought of how many “great goalies” had come and gone from the NHL over Brodeur’s 15-17-year career (depending upon whether or not you acknowledge the few games he played at the end of 1991-2), yet Brodeur was the one constant great goalie over that whole time. 

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Image via Toronto Star

*On May 25, 2012; nearly two decades after Brodeur’s rookie season (and more than twenty years after his NHL debut), the legend managed to be involved in what I consider the greatest non-Cup moment in Devils history.  It was Game 6 of the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals – Devils vs. Rangers.  The Devils were up 3 games to 2, as the Devils had won earned their first two series wins in the era of The Rock.  I was in the 100-level of The Rock that night with my former roommate.  Less than two minutes into the overtime, “Henrique, it’s over!!!” happened.  Pure elation on the level of the Jason Arnott Cup-winning goal from 12 years prior.  In fact, this felt every bit like the Devils winning the Cup.  More than 18,000 fans, myself included, had out-of-body experiences of joy as the greatest goal song of all time (“The ‘Hey’ Song”) blared over the Prudential Center speakers. To knock off the Rangers in overtime in the Conference Finals was incredible.  Brodeur again rejoiced to a level befitting of knocking off the hated rivals in the Conference Finals.  He looked as happy as he would have if the Devils had beaten the Rangers in Game 7 in 1994, and the same could be said for me.  While the Devils would ultimately lose to the Kings in the Stanley Cup Finals, the 2012 playoff run remains a wonderfully positive experience for Devils fans. 

*After 2012, Brodeur would play two additional seasons for the Devils.  In the latter, he split time with current Devils goalie Cory Schneider.  By the end of the 2013-4 season, Brodeur had comfortably set the records for wins, shutouts, games played, and many more.  For me though, it was most amazing to think of the amount of time I had this guy in my life.  He debuted with a few games when I was in 4th grade (1992).  He was a rookie when I was in 6th grade, and he was the Devils’ primary goalie from that year through middle school, high school, college, three years working at AvisBudget, and seven years teaching at Ramsey High School.  Fittingly, his last Devils season was my first school year teaching the legendary editors, Robert Sartori and Nick Costanzo, of this blog.  Thus, over 22 of my first 32 years of life, Brodeur left a mark. 

I should add that his on-ice success is not the limit of the mark he left.  He has also been the best interview of any player for whom I have ever rooted.  He has always been very personable, yet he has always managed to say things of substance.  So many NHL players speak solely in clichés, but this has not been true of Brodeur.  Additionally, as a Devils fan, it was a delight that an all-time great chose time and again to stay in New Jersey.  If the greatest goalie of all time had played in New York, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, or any Canadian city, he would have been a mega-celebrity; but Brodeur was content to stay in New Jersey.  In New Jersey, he was celebrated, but he was never revered on the level of Derek Jeter or the other big stars of the NYC area. 

The only negative on his playing career is that somehow, the wonderful “Mar-TAN” chant from Continental Airlines Arena evolved into a “Mar-TEE” chant at The Rock.  You would think that, as he aged, the chant would move to the more dignified name, not to the less dignified name.  Plus, “Mar-TAN” accents the correct syllable, while “Mar-TEE” does not.  This turn of events has never made sense to me, but I do not blame Brodeur for that.  I am hear to applaud the man, the myth, the legend, that is Martin Brodeur.

Congratulations, Martin Brodeur, on your induction to the Hockey Hall of Fame, and thank you for being involved with so many great moments of my life!