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Neil Leifer Sports Illustrated

cigar & spirits pairing

A Trip Through Cognac

Chris Szagola/ZUMA/Newscom


Quarterback Mark Sanchez is generally regarded as a good athlete and an all-around good guy. He was a standout at USC and drafted by the New York Jets in 2009. He led the Jets to the AFC Championship Game in each of his first two seasons, and was dubbed “The Sanchize” by the New York media. The Jets and the New England Patriots were featured in one of three nationally televised games on Thanksgiving 2012. There were over 79,000 fans in attendance at MetLife Stadium, home of the New York Jets, and over 20 million home viewers watched the game. The Jets were down 14-0 in the second quarter. Sanchez took the snap, dropped back, but turned the wrong way in an attempt to hand the ball off to one of his running backs. Unfortunately, because of his misdirection, no back was there. Sanchez decided to run the ball in an effort to gain positive yardage from the miscue. He ran smack into the derriere of his guard, Brandon Moore. The collision propelled Sanchez and bounced him off the guard’s backside with authority. The impact of the slapstick hit caused a fumble. The ball was picked up by New England’s Steve Gregory, who ran it in for a score. It was one of three fumbles the Jets would commit in a fifty-two second span that would result in three New England touchdowns. The “butt fumble” was one of a mounting series of gaffes by Sanchez that would mar his career.


Most boys have fantasized about hitting a home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to win the deciding game of a World Series for their favorite team. However, a World Series winning walk-off homerun is not that common. Bill Mazeroski (1960 Pittsburgh Pirates) and Joe Carter (1993 Toronto Blue Jays) dramatically beat the odds and remain the only two men in baseball history to have accomplished just that. They are easily two of the most famous homeruns in history, and right up there with Bobby Thompson’s “Giants win the pennant” shot. America’s National Pastime, indeed. (A nod here to Canada as well.) Touch ’em all, Joe and Bill!


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Two-time Pro Bowler, Garo Yepremian, was a key player in Miami’s perfect season in 1972 and chosen as one of the franchise’s greatest players upon their 40th Anniversary celebration. Yepremian was originally a soccer player in his native Larnaca, Cypress. During an appearance on The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson, he was asked why he jubilantly raised his arms and celebrated a meaningless extra point in a blowout loss. Yepremian told Johnny Carson he was ecstatic “because I keek a touchdown.” Yepremian’s zany quotient was cemented by one of the most notable plays in Super Bowl history. The Miami Dolphins were leading the Washington Redskins 14-0 in Super Bowl VII. Yepremian trotted onto the field to kick a field goal with a couple of minutes left in the game. Washington’s Bill Brundige blocked the attempt. Yepremian got to the ball before any other player, but did not fall on it to preserve the lead. In a state of panic, he attempted to throw a pass; the ball slipped from his hands, and went end over end straight up in the air. He frantically tried to bat the ball out of bounds, but it landed in the hands of Mike Bass, who ran it in for a Washington score. Nonetheless, the Dolphins held on and secured the Super Bowl victory. When asked by a reporter about the comically chaotic play after the game, Yepremian said, “This is the first time the goat of the game is in the winner’s locker room.”

A fine Cognac and a handrolled cigar. Centuries can’t defeat this pairing. Nick Hammond tries it in the heart of Cognac country. By Nick Hammond

Randy Mastronicola is a freelance writer and certified life coach living in Southern California. He is a frequent contributor to Cigar & Spirits Magazine. In addition to his coverage of the cigar universe, Randy writes about lifestyle, pop culture, food and travel, and entertainment for other media outlets. WWW.CIGARANDSPIRITS.COM

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Cigar & Spirits Magazine October Edition