Search

SWINGING AWAY

Dec. 12, 2011
Dec. 12, 2011

Table of Contents
Dec. 12, 2011

LEADING OFF
GOLF PLUS
  • How big was Tiger's victory at the Chevron? Can Luke Donald hang on to No. 1? Who's most likely to become the top American? How do the major venues rate, and who will win the four championships?

  • Great majors, a new No. 1, LPGA dominance, an old school fight for the money title and the rediscovery of a vintage track too tough to die made 2011 a terrific year in golf

  • The game will long remember Europe's leading light, a pioneering woman and a television innovator

Inside: THE WEEK IN SPORTS
SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR / SPORTSWOMAN OF THE YEAR
SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR, 1981
SPORTSWOMAN OF THE YEAR, 1976
  • A couple of recent divorces have dusted up the Girl Next Door, but as always she will never sit back and accept defeat

SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR, 1982
  • A man can gather plenty of insight on the road from boy wonder to senior statesman for the sport he loves

PRO FOOTBALL
  • The Patriots' defense, built from spare parts, castoffs and converted receivers, ranks dead last in the NFL, and yet New England is once again cruising to the playoffs. The real test is yet to come

SPECIAL REPORT
COLLEGE FOOTBALL
HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
BASEBALL
  • In 136 major league seasons, there's never been a more dizzyingly dramatic day than Sept. 28, 2011. The Red Sox and the Braves may disagree, but for everyone else it's a date that will live in ecstasy

PRO HOCKEY
  • With the club slumping and captain Alex Ovechkin seemingly checked out, the Capitals dumped their coach. Now one of the NHL's superstars isn't just struggling to rediscover his game, but he's also trying to shed an ugly label

  • The NHL's coaching carousel began to go 'round in earnest last week, with three jobs turning over in a four-day stretch. Besides the departure of Bruce Boudreau and the arrival of Dale Hunter in Washington, D.C., here's the lowdown on what went wrong and what to expect from here on in

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
WALTER IOOSS JR.
Departments

SWINGING AWAY

Quarterback Boomer Esiason maintains a full media workload and still has plenty left for fun and games

Boomer Esiason's typical weekday goes like this: Up at 4:15 a.m. at his Manhasset, N.Y., home, into the WFAN studios in Manhattan's West Village by 5:30 to do his 6-to-10 morning radio show, then various assignments for CBS's NFL Today or Westwood One's weekly pregame show. Three nights a week Esiason plays hockey in an adult league on Long Island. He captains his team, plays first-line center and sometimes isn't off the ice until 11:15 p.m. "I backcheck, baby," he says. "I play hard."

This is an article from the Dec. 12, 2011 issue

Esiason, 50, played 14 seasons in the NFL, and it's been 14 years since his last game. So the logical questions are: After a full day of work and a night of hockey, what hurts? Knees, ankles, shoulders, wrists, neck, back, head? All of the above?

"Nothing," he said last Friday in his WFAN studio chair, during a break in the show he does with prickly cohost Craig Carton. "Nothing hurts. I don't feel sore. It's amazing."

When Esiason, 15 pounds over his playing weight of 235, moves around the studio, he looks a decade younger. He doesn't limp, isn't slow, doesn't walk hunched over. He golfs twice a week in the summer. The only thing that bothers him, he says, is the occasional memory lapse. Sometimes he forgets whether he's eaten pasta or a turkey burger the night before.

"Is that because Bruce Smith hit me like a ton of bricks in the chin once and knocked me out?" Esiason says. "Is it because of how much I was hit in 14 years in the NFL? Is it because I didn't get enough sleep last night? Is it because I'm 50? Who knows?"

Yet in attending two of Esiason's radio shows over the past month, I saw no memory loss or other cognitive limitation as he kept up with Carton's breakneck pace. During a show last week Esiason said controversial Eagles wideout DeSean Jackson was creating a locker-room schism.

Carton broke in: "Spell schism."

"S-c-h-i-s-m," Esaison shot back.

Carton pressed the button to take a call. Anthony from Belleville asked about the long odds the Giants faced on Sunday against the unbeaten Packers. "You ever been in a game like that, Boomer?"

"Yeah, I was," Esiason said without hesitation. "It was called Super Bowl XXIII. Nobody gave us a chance. Actually, I was in a lot of these games. I played 14 years. About eight of those we had a shot. The rest of the time you held your breath and just hoped the receivers ran the right way."

Esiason does wonder about the toll football might take but doesn't fret about it. For a guy who played 187 games, was sacked 318 times and suffered three diagnosed concussions, he, like several of his '86 Bengals teammates, seems remarkably unaffected by a long NFL career. "I never had surgery," he says. "I never broke a bone. Was it luck? General toughness? I don't know. I do know I always felt prepared, always felt like I knew where the rush was coming from. I don't expect to live to 150, but I do expect to have a long and pretty normal life."

PHOTOANGUS MURRAY (GOLFING)BOOM, BOOM Esiason was sacked 318 times during his 14-year career but never had surgery or suffered a broken bone and says he has no physical limitations from football.PHOTOAL MESSERSCHMIDT/GETTY IMAGES (GAME ACTION)[See caption above]