FNF Coaches Talk — A Blind PA Announcer, Eagles Host Schools Involved in Shooting, Nerf Football Inventor Dies

Happy Friday, Coaches. Good luck in your game tonight!

1. One of the best public address announcers in the country is … blind (Nashville FOX 17)

This is a terrific high school football story — a feel-good feature that you could sniff out in just about every community in the nation.

Christ Presbyterian Academy (CPA) is a Nashville (Tenn.) powerhouse. In 2019, CPA transitioned to a new public address announcers at games. The new first-year announcer has great pipes and something less expected: blindness.

As reported by Nashville Fox affiliate WZTV, CPA football announcer Gordon Mote was born blind. He is able to deliver information on tackles, receptions and everything else that unfolds during a game by relying on a trio of spotters, each of whom can lean over and deliver the information he needs directly into his ear.

Mote, a former country music radio announcer, previously called occasional CPA baseball games, which is how the school got the idea to have him work its football contests.

“You know what’s really cool about this, there are a lot of people in the stands that, whether it’s the visiting team or some of our own people, that have no idea they’re getting information from a blind person,” Mote told WZTV. “I just want to encourage people. I’ve heard no all my life, that’s not possible.”

And while Mote first considered the opportunity with trepidation because of the increased speed and attention surrounding football games, he told WZTV that he feels like he’s now hit his proverbial stride as the team streaks forward in the state playoffs.

“You know what’s really cool about this, there are a lot of people in the stands that, whether it’s the visiting team or some of our own people, that have no idea they’re getting information from a blind person,” said Mote, revealing his most surprising secret to anyone who hears him at the games.

What great story in your football community hasn’t been told? Reach out to us to share it!

2. Philadelphia Eagles invite two high school teams to their stadium to finish game stopped by gunfire (Philadelphia Inquirer)

This is a sad story, but also one worth reading. And kudos to the Philadelphia Eagles for stepping up for two local high school teams and allowing them to finish a game that was postponed due to gun fire last Friday night.

The Camden High (N.J.) football team made a detour on its way to the Eagles’ stadium on Wednesday for the resumption of a playoff game that was interrupted Friday night by deadly gunfire.

The Panthers’ team bus stopped in front of Cooper University Hospital, where the youngest victim of the shooting, 10-year-old Micah Tennant, was pronounced dead earlier in the day.
“That was something special,” Camden junior quarterback Darian “Duce” Chestnut said. “That was us paying our respects.”

The death of the fifth-grader shrouded the game at the Philadelphia Eagles’ stadium in sadness, as players from Camden and Pleasantville locked arms in a moment of silence in Tennant’s honor before action resumed on a field that normally is home to NFL athletes.

Camden players and coaches described the team’s 22-0 victory as bittersweet, an unforgettable experience for reasons ranging from the thrill of seeing their names embossed on their lockers and playing in an NFL stadium to the heartache of learning that Friday’s shooting had claimed the life of a boy who had come to watch them play.

How has your team provided or received support from the community in the wake of a tragedy?

3. The inventor of the Nerf football dies (ESPN)

If you’re like me, you grew up playing with Nerf footballs at home, at recess, and pretty much anywhere else you could get a game going.

It’s arguably one of the best inventions for football because it attracts kids to the game and removes the injury risk for young athletes who aren’t strong enough to kick or throw an official football.

For those like me who have spent countless hours playing with a Nerf football, we owe a debt of gratitude to ex-Vikings kicker Fred Cox, who died yesterday at the age of 80.

In 1972, while still playing for the Vikings, Cox came up with the idea of a soft football to prevent leg injuries to kids. He and partner John Mattox, a local entrepreneur, took a mold of a full-sized football and injected it with soft foam rubber material. The result was the Nerf football.
“The weight was right,” Cox told Vikings.com several years ago. “When you threw it, it flew like a football.”

An All-Pro in 1969, Cox twice led the league in scoring while using a square-toed shoe to do his kicking. On a team with several Hall of Famers, including Fran Tarkenton, Carl Eller, Alan Page and Paul Krause, Cox also was a standout.

“He had a great brain and was a great thinker,” Tarkenton told Vikings.com. “He was an intellect that I spent every morning with before we played a game. I spent more time with him than any other player. Fred was a special, special human being who will be missed.”

What do you think has been the best invention to bring young players to the sport of football?

What’s driving the conversation in your locker room? Email Managing Editor Dan Guttenplan or Tweet us @fnfcoaches. Don’t forget to use that hashtag #FNFCoachesTalk