John Harbaugh, Aaron Jones, and Joe Posnanski


Welcome to the Peter King. podcast where this week. We're going to examine some things in an out of the national football league. I sorta Herta got this idea when I was reading a book recently. Called the life and afterlife of Harry Houdini by Joe Poznansky. WHO's a great American sports writer? I'm sure most of you who listen to this will know Joe or know of his great work. Use The two thousand twelve sports writer of the year in the United States. But we had a long conversation about this book because I am totally smitten. I'm totally fascinated with Harry. Houdini and have been for much of my life. And you'll hear that conversation with Joe and a bit but also I have shorter conversations early on just a few minutes with John. Harbaugh the coach of the Baltimore Ravens. I got him right after the Ravens. Thirty seven two twenty victory over the Patriots Sunday in the bowels of MNT Bank Stadium in Baltimore and also a player who this week in my column I believe will be one of the most important players in the second half of this. NFL SEASON NON quarterback division. Dan Aaron Jones running back the Green Bay packers. I talked to Jones last Thursday which obviously does not include the major league that the packers laid at the Los Angeles chargers on Sunday. But I'm just fascinated by the story of Aaron Orrin Jones and we will get to that how he grew up how he was without his parents for awhile. You'll hear that story so three guests this week doc. Baltimore coach John Harbaugh Green Bay running back Aaron Jones and Joe Poznansky the writer of the Harry. Houdini book first a few words about the team. I saw on Sunday night the winning team the Baltimore Ravens. And why when I I look at the modern NFL why. I have so much admiration for the Ravens teams in the. NFL will take. Let's say the New New York giants in quite a few teams. They might go through a dry spell and they might win for awhile contenders for a while. Show up to training camp every year and think. Hey we had a good shot to be playing football in January but and I'll use the giants specifically typically. I guess the giants stuck too long with ally manning and they are paying for it now in the effort to try to continually build and and add players around Eli Manning so that he could contend maybe they bought some mm free agents that now look like poor investments a nate solder. The left tackle right now. They were desperate to get a left tackle. They made him the highest paid left tackle in football and if he watched the Monday night game this week the whole line of the New York giants in the game against Dallas is just a sieve cannot protect cannot block for the running back that they paid so handsomely. For in the two thousand eighteen drafts saquon Barkley. But that's another matter. What what I mean to talk about is what the Baltimore Ravens have done? They didn't wait too long. They didn't wait years in in watching a mediocre Joe FLACCO. who wasn't getting the job done a quarterback they? They waited a couple of years when they were dissatisfied with the production at that position. And what they did is they went out and they drafted Lamar Jackson. Thirty second overall in in two thousand eighteen. There were five quarterbacks picked You know in that round and and clearly now at the time it was Baker. Mayfield Sam Darnold. I love those guys. Are Most people love those guys and there was this coldness around the candidacy ended. AC- and the draft odds of Lamar Jackson. And now you see him after. Thirty one teams passed on him. You see what he's doing. He didn't put up Gaudy numbers Sunday night but he obviously played very very well for the Baltimore Ravens Evens but this is something larger than that the Baltimore Ravens. The reason I admire him is that the ravens are a continuum. It's very hard in the NFL. These days to make sure that you continue to supplementary team and you continue to be good and to me I think it is so interesting the way they have built their team and I talked about this on my earlier. podcast based on Monday this week my FM. I mini pod. Bud when I look at the way that they have used the draft first of all more compensatory picks than any team in football in the last ten years and more draft picks than any team in football in the top six six rounds than any team in football in the last ten years as well that enables team to stay on top when you have all all of those draft picks especially in the higher rounds and they always keep their eye on the prize. They do not worry when win a key player like Cj Moseley leaves because obviously if they lose a great player in free agency. They know what's going to happen. They're going to get criticized publicly. They're going WANNA get criticized in the press. They always have under Ozzie. newsome now the first. GM Eric Decosta. But they don't really care because they understand Dan that first of all we're not paying a guy who we believe is a good player but not nod in ear replaceable player. We're not GONNA pay him so much that we're going to ruin the rest of our team and so. I think that has been sort of a hallmark hallmark of what they have done over time and why I respect them. They don't get married to any single player. They get married. Read the team the team the team. It's so ironic that the head coach of this team. John Harbaugh his brother. Obviously obviously Jim Harbaugh. The coach at the University of Michigan one of the most influential people. In his life was Bo- Sham Boeckler the coach coach of the Michigan Wolverines who coach Jim Harbaugh as a college football player. And that is the famous slogan. That Bo Sham Becker lived by the team. The team the team and I think okay everybody in Baltimore lives by that and I think it's something that for years now that they seemingly have their long term quarterback in Lamar Jackson accent that we're going to see the last thing. I'll I'll tell you that I thought it was really interesting in in the locker room. With Lamar Jackson Jackson. I spend a little time. I sort of staked them out after the game because after his press conference where you know there's a bunch of people there because I was is hoping to get a few words individually so so later mean a couple of other. Writers were standing his weight former and talking informally to them and you could just tell how excited he was and how happy he was and how much he was just into the moment. This wasn't about how great it was. Oh my God. I beat Tom Brady tonight. It wasn't anything to do with that. It was we want a game tonight and hey I'm happy because we won you know there's nothing about me me me and I just walked away from from. There walked out of the locker room that night. And I said man with this quarterback and with this ethos they have on their team. I think they're going to be good for a long long time. Anyway let's get into my first guest. Which is the coach of the Baltimore? Ravens is John Harbaugh and we're going to pick up the conversation. It's only a few minutes. We're picking up the conversation when I talked to him about A. Ah How fun it was to watch. Lamar Jackson go out there and really control the game. Ben Rothlisberger all years and that was the thing that drove me crazy with him he moved around make plays any throw it tomorrow do that too but the fact that you can do with his legs to who is just as it's a it's a great weapon. You know outdoor playing ball long. I'm glad everybody got you as it John. Did you ever think you would have an offense since that so many different things tonight you use some. RPO stuff you almost a couple of times. You know you did wishbone often. I swear you know he pitches it out but I mean this is such a diverse different difficult to prepare for offense. Well when we got Lamar thought what we would you know. I didn't know exactly how it would go. I think Jiro Greg Roman deserves and all the offense coaches disturbed tons of credit. Because it's one thing to talk about or think think about have a vision for how it's going to what the elements are going to be and what you want to be able to put together. It's a whole another thing to put it together you know. And and that's that's what that's what they do. That's they're the ones you have to organize that. Get it all taught get it wrapped all those kind of things and we're only halfway through the season. There's less store yet to be written one way or the other. But you know Greg. Roman off interest after credit for that. John What do you think you said to the NFL tonight if anything about because it's look like the Patriots have been so good in the first half of the season obviously even losing using this game. They're still an excellent team. So what do you think you guys said to the rest of this league tonight. It really wasn't I mean that's to me. We were six into all right we we have we have a lead in the In the AFC northern we've got we've got hold onto it. We got extended if we can you know we have eight games still to play. I mean that's what's going to tell the story. So wherever wherever statements or anything that a guy that need to be made won't be made for the second half of the season. I think that's the thing that we have to just keep in mind. Let's just look forward. Let's get to Cincinnati and Try to be the best team we can be next week really and we keep it that simple. That's what we need to do last thing. You've had a great rivalry with the Patriots over the years. You've only played them here twice before tonight. Since you've been here it's really really been imbalanced. But what was it like to get this great team. This great franchise franchise in your house tonight and to play them on an even footing and and obviously to beat them is great for our fans. I the thing that I was really happy for the way. They've earned those other playoff games. I mean they earn those home field advantages so and the other one's just rotational. So you know. I guess it's probably should be somebody even for the regular season if it's not it isn't to talk to somebody about that. I don't know why that would be the case. Well what's going on with that but obviously having for our fans because we don't get a lot of prime time games here for whatever reason you know like Pittsburgh. We always playing there in prime time. It seems like I'm just happy for our fans to be able to experience the stadium. Hate him like I said in the deal and the press conference at night. It's really electric. It's really a great venue. Our fans are great. So that's what you're happy for the last thing I'd ask you your midway through the third quarter you get a third down and the crowd is really. It's almost like a chapel. You know everybody's he's quiet everybody's saying Oh my God twenty four to twenty you know. It seemed like there was a lot of worry in the stadium and then Lamar Jackson makes that pass to mark. Andrews here's what are you thinking lead into that play up thinking we need to play a hope that we make a play dislike the fans are. I'm probably feeling the same way they our but we got the Mar Mark Andrews. You know that's not the first time that's happened for us this year. So we're not. I wasn't shocked. You know by Ryan Stretch. I mean we've made a number of those plays already this year. So now we've got a lot of good young players it unafraid of the big moment up to this time. So let's keep building on that John. Harvard congratulations thanks. Peter Mike thanks to John Harbaugh so this week across crossed the NBC sports podcast platform. You're GONNA WANNA hear Chris. Simms unbuttoned every Wednesday. What I love about the Sims Sims podcast is that he puts it in absolutely plain English? He doesn't fool around he doesn't even put it in football ease. He just tells you exactly. Why teams won and lost? And I can't say the word right here on this this podcast outcasts. But he basically has. What the bleep happened podcast on Monday? He's going to go inside. The raiders goal line. Stand that held off the Lions in one the game for Oakland. Howie Andy Reid? beat Mike Zimmer and how the chargers totally befuddled Aaron Rodgers that podcast comes out today Wednesday his Monday podcast also broke down. How Lamar Jackson got the best of Bill? Bill Belichick you'll also want to check out if you're a fantasy player. The Rota World Football podcast. They got four episodes every week hosted by. NBC's is Josh. Norris one of the best in the fantasy game now. It's getting to be crunch time in fantasy. Let Josh Norris helped set your lineup and now let's go go to my conversation with Aaron Jones. The new star running back of the Green Bay packers happy to be joined on the Peter. King podcast today by Aaron Jones running back with the Green Bay packers who's kind of exploded onto the NFL seen leading leading the NFL and touchdowns at the season's mid-point and has really played well and been valuable guy for Aaron Rodgers Rogers both in the passing game and the running game Aaron first of all welcome in and before we start before I ask anything. I'm going to play play a clip from the Sunday night telecast on NBC. And after that I WANNA get your reaction to what you hear. Just luckily your sky over here was a tough match up for them all night and I didn't I didn't do a whole lot. Besides get him the ball and let him do his thing. You referenced referenced. Aaron Jones who are going to get to next. What kind of luxury is it having this guy with you? He's he's a special guy. He's in the locker room. He's a great young leader. He's a fantastic player. Does everything the right way. He doesn't have an ego and he's a hell of a glare glad. He's on our team. So Aaron. That's what What Aaron Rodgers said about you after the game on Sunday in Kansas City first of all? What's your reaction to hear? Aaron Rodgers talk about you like that. Just like wow I mean it does a lot for your confidence As a young guy That's a hall of fame quarterback and he's saying this stuff about you as a player. It does a lot for your confidence and it just makes you wanna work that much harder To keep helping them out and keep in that that spot to go to The having him depend on you. Have you been at all surprised at that particular part of your introduction to pro football that. Here's a great quarterback one of the great quarterbacks when he retires probably. We be a top ten quarterback of all time. And he's relying on you and looking at you and talking about you like that. And what has that meant to you as a football player and is a person I mean it means everything like I said. It does a lot for your confidence as a player. Are you have a future hall of Famer Saying that about you He's seen a lot of football. He knows football so he definitely knows what's going on. Not In these in these things about you. Like I said it's just GonNa make you want to go back and start grinding right away and work harder Are to continue to improve. Continue to raise your game. Let's talk just a little bit about your role in this offense and how it has a how how it has sort of expanded in the time that there have been so many injuries now on this Green Bay Team I. I noticed in the game against Kansas City. That you were lined up. I would call it as a wide receiver in this game. Including on the sixty seven been yard touchdown pass where you Kinda came into motion. You stopped and you took a pass from Aaron Rodgers. So how much have you practiced practiced actually sort of wide receiver plays on and off season Kind of work on route running and catching to the ball a little bit and I think that's something that all running backs do not just me See it across the league and stuff So it improve your game So that that way and then of course here in practice We work on those those routes as well And in this offense Baxter access to to be used in different ways as in you gotta be very suitable. So I'm glad I can bring that aspect. HAS ANYTHING ABOUT THE PRO game. Surprised did you. Since you got there is a fifth round. Pick out of Texas EL PASO in two thousand seventeen I would say you you hear how much of business it is but then You actually see you once you're here And it's surreal assault. I would say that. Probably I want to ask you a few things about your your life in your past a very interesting background and that you're a twin and you and your brother were grew up in a military family moved around a lot then settled in El Paso I end. Correct me on anything that I'm wrong about here. But settled in El Paso and then when you were about eight years old. If I'm not mistaken your mom and your dad both who are career military officers both were deployed to Iraq. And it. Just tell me what that was like for you and your brother staying back while they went out in service of the country It was definitely tougher. My sister was as well would us We ended up moving from Tennessee at the time. We were living in Tennessee And we moved. Move to Virginia with my uncle and They took care of us but as a child That that that's very hard. I mean you used to seeing your parents every day and Then the next day you you're not seeing them and you're not knowing if they're gonNA come back at the time you're not understanding. Really what war is you. You like you hear war when you're younger and you just think of people being killed and so you're not knowing when like if you're going to see see them or anything and so it's just tough on tough on kids in But luckily I have my brother and my sister We we have great family and so They were able to just look after US and make sure we were good and my parents came back safe and thing I'll just think offer that. So how long were you without your mom and dad for about six months My my I think it was my mom. Dad had left I Going to Iraq and then like three months later my mom. Yeah I can't imagine when you're eight years old what that's like and whether and you know having no idea just watching your mother and father voluntarily go I mean. Do you remember remember what that day was like. Oh Man I do. I remember the day like the back of my hand. Just remember Going there air so I got a big hangar and You're you know you you're you know what you're there for. You know your parents about to leave and you see other kids and everything anything you just see them. Start to line up and Getting getting there and units and they start to exit out the built in That's the last time you're gonNA see them Praying that they come back alive and But it was a lot of tears that day. A lot of crying Just no I'm I'm a Momma's boy to this. Oh my I think my mom was the second one second one leaves so just love. Can you look back on that and tell me how if anyway either it affected you in your life did it made you make you grow up. Faster what what when you look back on on it now. What did it do for you in your life today? it is. How much stronger longer person overall Faith ause as well. My parents were in my family. Were big into faith and just always tell me. Continue to probably win. Time to get hard when you're when you're not feeling it or just anytime Your downs is not only when you're down but all the time continue to pray. Continue to Prien as a kid get me and my siblings would be so we would be doing. We would be granted our parents make it back saving like we as a kid. We're just helping we get to spend the next Christmas with them. You know a lot of holidays missed and things like that. What do you think now when you are back together as a family do you appreciate it? You think even more than a lot of people probably do because there was a time where you wondered whether your mom and Dad would come back back definitely Never take a segment them for granted 'cause they're twenty nine twenty seven years in the army Any Day could have been the day Not just in the army but any day could be. It could be anybody day any day. You know so I just my parents always taught me. Never take anything for granted Treasure every moment and so every moment I get I get to spend with them. I charter every moment. 'cause I mean you know who knows I I mean I don't know what has gone on over there but who knows one step to the right one step to love. Things could have been different so I just continue to Brian all right. Thank God with Aaron. Jones breakout running back at Green Bay. Packers Aaron I wonder when did you I I think when did it first occurred to you man. I would really love to play in the NFL. One day when I Fire well yeah when I first started playing football I told my dad I was like I was in the football and basketball. I was like I want to NBA NFL And and that has been my goal ever since I was little to to become a professional athlete and not only become a professional athlete. But be the best at it and How much how did you figure that that football was your game what what happened throughout high school to to make it more inclined to be for you to pursue football or basketball was actually my favorite sport My Height on Number number two Just more schools were showing interest in football. So I was like I think this thing might might be the way to go. Definitely definitely so I did that I actually play my first year in College Me and my twin brother. We both play basketball our first year in college as well. Wow did you have any big moments on the basketball court at ut up Yes sir I came in We played Old Dominion was really my first real game Playing plan We're in conference and won. A guard gives them foul trouble or come in play play good scored I PATS them assist in couple rebound. Wow so in college you were not really very much of a receiver. You caught seventy one balls in four seasons at Texas El Paso then you ended up getting drafted by the packers and with the packers. You have really become much more of a receiver. What what has that been like? And why do you think it's happened. I just. I think I've Sung that I've I I've had good hands and Since he's been here So that's one of the things that they've seen me and just the offense the The coastal floor runs. I feel like it just physically. Very well He likes to use back everywhere all over the field and So the better you can catch them more you'll play In the more opportunities as you have and and is is that partier game that comes natural to you or heavy had to work on your hands a lot No come natural to me I played receiver for a year and slot receiver for a year in high school so my sophomore year in high school so Catching the ball. I've definitely worked on ever since I was a little I would say probably I didn't get good are catching kill. Probably High School Probably Eighth Grade Star got started getting good. I catch him before that. I wouldn't say I was very good at catching. What's it like to catch an Aaron Rodgers? Pass verses other quarterbacks you've played for what is the ball feel like coming into so you. What is the? What's the accuracy like? How how is it different to catch a ball from Aaron Rodgers issue? Right in between your numbers Sometimes out of the Times. That ball catching stuff. You just gotTA put your hands out That's the easiest way for me off off. I love that ball catches Soviet. You just gotTA put your hands out you. Put Your hands out the non ten. Ball's GonNa fall right in your hands so two other things. I was curious about when I serve. I've been watching some some of your highlights this year and and watching some of the Games. I notice that you can line up almost anywhere. I don't know how many places you've lined up this year but it's a lot. What is it very complex? Is the offense of Matt leflore difficult for somebody like you. WHO's asked to do so many things I would say at the big at the beginning if this was presented to me out of my wall like this. This is a lot but we've had not as we had a camp so we've got to come in and learn the offense and get offense down now now. I'm able to be be moved around because I know the offense and I can blown up in different places still know what's going on and not only me but you'll see Around the field you'll see other guys lined up like you'll see Danny Italian fullback lined up at wide and different places like that so I just think it's part part of that. What's Matt Leflore like to play for us a lot of fun bringing energy every day? You know you're going to have a lot of fun with him meetings are fun. you're learning a lot about the game football and He's GonNa make sure you're giving your your all your one hundred percent and I want to go. He's GonNa make sure you're ready a land with this. I don't know whether you ever look at statistics numbers or or where you stand. But what is it like for you right now where you came from fifth round pick not at a power five conference and who knows what kind of career you're going to have but now this year you've got better numbers numbers than Ezekiel Elliot and And Todd Gurley in some of the really big names big running backs in the. NFL does does it ever seem unreal to you know. Sorry not at all I've always believed in myself and I competed with some of the same guys and college rushing wise and numbers was and was up there in the same category statistically so so I feel like this is not the new for me and I guess something. I'm capable of Aaron. Jones is really pleasure to talk to. You can get to know you a little bit. Thanks so much for spending some time. Thank you thank you for having me Sir and now my conversation with Joe Poznansky the author author of a new book on Harry Houdini so happy to be joined on the podcast today. By Joe Poznansky. He's he's written a book. That is just out called the life and afterlife of Harry. Houdini Joe as many of you know is one of the best sports writers in America. He in two thousand twelve was named The national sportswriter of the year by the National Sports Media Association Asian and I have great regard for him as a sports writer and I just I could not believe when I saw a few months ago that that you were writing a book about Harry. Houdini and we're GONNA get exactly that. But we're sitting here in my home in Brooklyn and were were basically going to dissect the life and times of Harry Houdini but Joe I guess I saw start with saying you write in this book very early on there have been more than five hundred books written about Harry Houdini now which has to be more than any American figure. Ever maybe Lincoln Lincoln. Yeah but I can't can't. I just can't fathom anybody having that many books written about. So why did you want to do the five hundred I. It's it is the right question. It's by the way worst worst book pitch in history is to go to somebody and say I want to write a book about Harry. Houdini the five hundred first book. I I thought I thought this was going to be something different. I thought I had a different way to look at it. Because I didn't start with Houdini. I started with this idea of wonder you know mean sports sorts writers. That's what we write so much about is like that that moment. You know that that sort of a Ron. You see a a hefty not see a basket that just opens up your whole mind you know and I think magic does that too. And here's a guy who died it almost one hundred years ago and he still the most famous magician in the world and he still somebody we talk every day. There's every single day there's a story somewhere somewhere about Harry. Houdini and I wondered why I mean that was the story in. All of these books are about him. There there's there comic books fictional fictional accounts There's all sorts of things that use. Houdini assemble but none of them answered that question. Why does this guy still last? Why does he still survive? And so I thought it is a book about Harry Houdini. But in a way it's different from from everything else and so much of this book I thought was interesting because you delved into the lives of so many people whose lives have been unalterably changed and in many ways dictated by the life. In Times of Harry Houdini. Yeah Yeah and that was how I did you know that was the that was the the the goal in my mind was like I'm GonNa Talk to all of these people people you know there are people who run active websites about Harry. Houdini people who whose entire lives like you mentioned were guided by Harry Houdini. Whether it's when Harry. Houdini ran away from home and so that inspired them to run away from home or or when somebody who felt distant and and completely out of his community decided to become a magician because he saw Harry Houdini photo and and their story after story after story. Like this and I thought this is the way to get at something true. Grew because as I'm sure we'll talk about very little is true about Harry Houdini. Well let let's. Let's go to that. I mean I was struck. Druk in your book by the absolute by by the incredible number of lies that he told in his life in many ways his life was Ali'i tell everybody I was born in Appleton Wisconsin. And he wasn't right. It's not born in Appleton Wisconsin. He's born in Germany Budapest Hungary he's born in Hungary and and I kept thinking to myself. The job of writer in the job of a reporter is to seek out the truth Bruce and yet you have example after example after example you have him submitting stories to newspapers and then just running stories out and having no idea whether any of those stories submitted about this great trick that he just did yesterday in this city was was true or not what he joked. In Your Book I've written for more newspapers than anybody in America. So I WANNA find out. How did you get to the Truth Truth and Ferret through so many lies you know in in some way the lies are the truth about Harry Houdini? Because because what Harry Houdini represented was someone who wanted to create this myth. The right this legend that would last forever. That was what his whole life was about was creating the Houdini that people would never ever forget and so he came up with these stories. He came up with these myths and he did amazing. Think things do that are in there somewhere so so there is truth in there somewhere. These escapes that he did and yet there's also all of these extraordinary very wise that he created to do this and all of tells the story right. All of it tells the story of this of this immigrant. who grew up up dirt poor who ran away from home when he was twelve? Who whose father was a rabbi? Who couldn't find work? Who who just everything that that you would think is the opposite of what Harry Houdini is and how he created this life in this in this incredible story that we're still hoteling one hundred years later and so that was the truth that I was going after I also was going to try to bust some myths? I mean let's let's be honest because as you say you're always so so the fact he would tell the story about being trapped under the ice stirring an escape for an hour and he would like rise to the surface and breathe and that a little distance between the water. And the that's not that's true it's completely untrue. But it's such an interesting provocative story that comes out of his imagination that it tells something about him too so finding what's true and what's not true and then also what's true in the myth is was was so much fun. Joe Joe. I'm going to ask you to read a passage of this book because I think it's important for those who might be listening to this who maybe don't have a fascination and with this guy maybe they aren't of a certain age and when they're when you're twenty three years old you have no idea who harry. Houdini is or why he's significant. We're we're going to read this. Read this short passage and then we're going to talk about. Why is he still significant to this day? Absolutely we're closing in on one hundred years since his death and yet when a thief in Bangkok slips out of his handcuffs and alludes a dozen police officers would they call them. Houdini a baby Ian mundaring Australia. Continuously escapes a crib to the dismay and panic of her parents and the newspaper her. Houdini baby a dog keeps sleeping slipping out of the yard and creating gaining havoc in a neighbor's garden in Melbourne Florida and is similarly called. Houdini dog this is on original newspaper in San Diego des Moines Rome Amsterdam and North London. Then also call particularly troublesome pooches. Houdini whats sort of Houdini child. Do you have asks. Houdini Solutions Ltd a New Zealand company. Which makes baby safety safety devices? A harnessing Dini a bedroom. Houdini a put things in the toilet. Houdini we have the products that will keep that. Houdini of years contained and safer F C Barcelona. The most famous soccer team on earth overcomes late deficit in the game the headlines. Call Them Houdini. Donald trump gets tangled in a seemingly endless series of scandals and emerges unscathed. How does he do it? The reporters explain. He is Houdini in Missouri. A man's car flips over eight times after a fiery crash and he walks away from the wreckage unharmed. I Dunno his wife tells reporters he must be Houdini. An Alabama man on death row dodges execution seven times James. Houdini a baseball relief. Pitcher gets out of a bases loaded jam in the World Series Houdini. The Russian chess genius Sergei cargonoff can escapes from seemingly seemingly inescapable trap Houdini. Houdini is always there ready to be summoned. That's fantastic that's on page four of your book so when people are trying to say why. Am I reading a book about Harry Houdini. You basically just told them. So why do we still care about Houdini that that is the the question and I think there are. There are number of reasons for it one is I think our fascination with escape I think all of us feel it you know. And that's why he's mentioned so often. Is that the idea of being able to escape from something impossible. Whatever it is in sports politics and in anything is so powerful and this guy because of the life he lived because of the the mitzi created he he he he's still at the very edgewater. Imagination can imagine I mean in the last one hundred years. There hasn't been someone more extraordinary at escaping than Houdini is. Really ought to think about but yet that's our mind goes that's it. You know the first thing that our mind goes to when we think of escape is Dean I think the other there are other the reasons seasons but he was a master of self promotion. I mean a hundred years ahead of his time when it comes to creating eating this mythology for himself through lies but also through working the media and coming up with ingenious. How did he do that? Joe How did he work the media. Oh Oh my gosh in many many ways but you know you as you mentioned at the time especially newspapers were the only media there. This was before radio this before for certainly before television or anything else and he would write stories and newspapers a run them. I mean they. They were always looking for interesting things he was he was you know he would wine and dine reporters to Kinda give him better coverage he would get to know people he was he was very good about sending letters notes to the people and you know and is he became more famous to get a note from Houdini was very meaningful on. You couldn't wait for him to come back to town next. You could write an even bigger story on him and he was just brilliant. Brilliant at at creating attention and he would do things all the time. You know. The everybody knows about Houdini. Updike upside down straitjacket straitjacket escape. You've ever seen a photo of him doing it some. He did that for free like that was not that was not part of the show that was to get people to come to the show so so he would show up in in Times Square or or in Washington downtown or Chicago or Boston or Kansas City. You did it all over the country and and he would say. This is the first time this has ever been attempted. Someone is going to try to escape. He's going to be hanging upside down. Five stories off the ground and escape from a straitjacket get and thousands and thousands of people would come and watch and then he would end and he'd be like come to the show so he was. He was a genius promoter in many ways. I think I think the first people talk about P. T. Barnum but Houdini took it to a whole other level and you could see today. Houdini techniques for getting attention attention. Going viral are still being used today. This this guy was ahead of his time. Joe You write about a specific diffic- several specific instances one of which just seems so preposterous. That I had to ask you about it. that he he got into sort of serve later in his career probably midway through his career he would go into police stations. Yeah take his clothes off. Yeah that's right in handcuffing lake cuff him and basically challenge the cops basically basically say I can get out of this x amount of time and do it. Yeah so what possibly was the reason for that. Why did he do do this? And I just I kept reading that and I'm saying what is going on here. Yeah no it's it's incredibly bizarre everything he did if you take a back from it. It's like what what is this. I mean I think about the water torture. Cell for instance which is his most famous escape. Right he hangs upside down underwater. And he you know from it. But it's his contraption I mean everybody knows that it's not it's not like Oh we just happen to have one right here. I mean he invented it and yet people still still assassinated though. How can he get out of this thing that he built? I mean if anybody would know how to get out of it so you know early the on people would say oh he has a key. He's hiding a key and he goes. I am not hiding a key and approve it. I'll do it naked. And then suddenly he. You just saw the. Hey that works. People actually are interested in a naked guy escaping from things and so he would go to different all kinds of police stations all over the country every time he would want it to do it every town and some places there were there a couple of great stories of him going to the station and then saying okay. Let's see you escape and he starts to undress. Whoa New York did that right? Yeah I'm in New York. Keep him on. Yeah exactly so it. It was all for attention it was because those were free to. That's the other thing though. All of those escapes the show. They were cast to get attention. The guy just just lived to get attention Joe My favorite story about Houdini in the book I mean I I have two one is as you lead the book with the Jess Willard Story Boxer in Los Angeles Very Vivid Story. I don't want to give everything away but a story I'd really really love you. To tell is when he was in England and he was confronted by a reporter and investigative instigator reporter. Who was going to prove it Harry? Houdini was a fraud and I would love you just to tell that story. Yeah it's it's one of my favorite things in the book it's called the it's called the mirror offices the escape because it was a reporter for the Daily Mirror who these and I love so many things about it but what I love of most about it is. We still don't know how he did it. Exactly everybody as theories including me and you wrote about three of your theories I did. I wrote about at the most popular theories that I did some minor theories and then I had to give my own theory. How he did it but a guy from the Daily Mirror said that he had found locksmith in Birmingham who had built impossible to escape handcuffs right? They've they have these very long key and you have to turn the key key several different ways in order for it to open the lock. So you can't pick it. It's not a pickup lock. And he brought it challenge Udine who the. I didn't want anything going to do with it. And then you could tell that. Houdini was nervous. He was very when he was when he was confronted by this reporter. Yeah in in an auditorium right. He did and the hippodrome or wherever. You wasn't hippodrome. That's what he did he always. You'd say okay anybody anything to challenge me and he took the stage reporter and said I challenge you. And he's a no no all those aren't regulation cops and then he went off to another part of the stage and the guy refused to leave the stage and they eventually. Houdini had no choice. The crowd was jeering him and the guy actually made a great he yet to give them a lot of credit he said oh Mr Houdini. You're an American and I understand. Americans have nothing to fear from the British. So so do you want to represent your country. You know and Houdini was found himself trapped and he said okay. I accept the challenge but he was nervous service and he before he went out he said I cannot. Houdini was a very it was braggart news a bold guy but he said before that he goes. I can't promise you I'll get out out of these but I promise I will do my best and it was an hour long escape. Life had many many peaks and valleys. That people can read about. If if you if you what was so interesting I thought about this and I forget who today told you today. America has no no America's too impatient shore through performance. You want something different to happen every second and yet crowds were being asked when Harry. Houdini performed like this time in England. They were being asked to sit there while Harry Houdini would go into a tent right or or would go. You go behind the curtain or whatever to try to work to do everything to get out of these handcuffs is straight jacket. Yeah and so this. This was happening and I recall from your story three times. He came out yes and at one point he asked the reporter. Would you you please unlock my handcuffs. Because I'm getting hot right and I WANNA take my jacket. Yes yes and the reporter refused to do it. He said I've you've seen the cuffs locked. You've never seen them unlocked. I won't do that. And the crowd booed and that Houdini said okay enough and he reached with his mouth into his front pocket and pulled out a pen knife and and like somehow opened it and then like made a whole bunch of slashing motions and slashed the jacket. Right off the crowd. He was such a showman. You know and the crowd went crazy. But you're right. The crowd is sitting there. You imagine now for twenty minutes staring staring at nothing. There's literally nothing while a band plays. You know you're just like but but it was a different time but there's no question all the time people were in the crowd crying. They were so scared they were so nervous and he came out and everybody cheered but he still had the handcuffs on and then and then he went back in when he came out again and everybody cheered and he still had handcuffs on. I mean yeah. That's not playing today. We're not nobody. Nobody is watching that whole thing today but it would do differently today. Am You if you believe as I do that. A showman is a showman. You know somebody who can who can perform they'll find what the audience wants and that's what he was able to do. So Joe what happened in this particular in this in this particular story which is my favorite story in the book. Yeah well at the end he he does escape end. The place goes crazy and they carry him on his shoulders and he talks about you. Know what a end the end the reporter order graciously says you know Dini has has one and everybody goes crazy and and nobody knows for sure how he did it. But everybody's pretty sure that he made the whole thing off like the whole thing is is Houdini. Houdini sat up and so in other in other words. Do you believe to this day is at your best. Guess because you can't know runs sure this happened one hundred fifteen years right so you can't know for sure but is it your a best guess that it was an inside job with him in the reporter. That's why I believe I have. I have theories about how they did it with. I really fun but it's so Houdini every like this is like the thing that that you come to at the end is. Houdini was in some ways. Houdini was more or of an athlete than he was a magician. He had to win. Winning was everything that matter to him win win win. You challenged me. Nobody can keep Houdini prisoner. That was his slogan. So he's not going into something he can't win. There's no way that Harry Houdini he's not going to have some way of getting out so and later there are many stories. I don't know how true they are but when he would perform the water torture. Sal performed the milk escape. Milk can escape. Yeah where he'd go underwater same thing that the escaped literally took seconds to get out but then he would be backstage reading a newspaper Ver- way while the crowd is going crazy outside waiting for the right moment to actually come out so it feels a little bit like that Joe. Got One one more question to ask you. You write in great detail about how he died and to me. It's it's a matter of great sadness quite honestly that he probably died by getting beat up by somebody who might or might not have been been a college student right and Harry. Houdini late late in his life very late in his life now would challenge lynge people in always both physically mentally everything and he was being interviewed in Montreal. One one day when someone showed up and I can you just recount the story about what exactly happened. Yeah yeah the the guy shows up. He's doing an interview with other college students. He's older and you know he doesn't really fit the scene but Houdini seem to have known him and he says. Isn't it true. Mr Houdini that you have challenged anyone to punch you in the stomach you can withstand any challenge and Houdini kept saying. I don't WanNa talk about that. Let's doc kept saying Oh my muscles feel strong. My muscles are like he would. He didn't WanNa talk about it but the guy kept saying I've heard that's true. I've heard that's true. And Houdini finally said yes. ACID is true. I can withstand any punch and he said I'd like to punch you. I'd like to try. This and Houdini started to get up and while he was getting up the guy punched punched in the stomach as many as ten times right it wasn't just one it wasn't just want some guy who basically came in. It looked to me trying to almost assassinate Harry Houdini. It's crazy when you think about it and the craziest part is as you said. He challenged people to anything but there is no evidence at all all that he ever challenged anybody to punch him in the stomach. Like this whole thing might have been but you know at that point. Houdini probably was like. I'm sure at some point. I've challenged people you know. I'm challenged the people and everything else. Why not that? And what's most likely I think is that he was already suffering from appendicitis. That's the most likely scenario. There are those who think the punches themselves caused it. But that's not as likely that he was already suffering from it he was. He was a very stubborn guy he would not go to the Dr and then after he got punched in the stomach he was definitely not going to go to the doctor. He's not GonNa let anybody like all. Some kid was on with the show on with the show and it was on with the show. Oh all the way to Detroit when he collapsed on the stage tried again collapsed again on the stage finally got taken to the hospital and they were able to remove his appendix index and would've saved his life done it earlier but by that point the poison had already seeped into his body and he died five days later on Halloween Halloween. Wean Nine Thousand Nine Hundred Nineteen Twenty six joe my last question about this. I am very very curious as a writer and you were writing about a subject. That is fascinating to you. But it's totally totally out of your Bailey completely. You know year sports writer and you go delve into this bizarre world of magic. So what did you. What did you learn about what you learn about yourself during this process? It's a it's a great question because there's no crossover between magic and sports being sports writer as you know and you've done this fantastic. If you drop a story on me this minute I would would at least know who to call okay. Maybe this person knows this person you build up that I didn't know anybody magic. Nobody literally zero people and and to the point where the David Copperfield. Who who is a prominent part of this thing? I wrote to David Copperfield through the contact US page on on his on his on his website and and all the other options were like. I've lost my ticket or I can't make clicked other other and then asked him if I could come and so I had no way of doing it. But here's what I found out about myself and this is absolutely true. I loved it I so Oh loved being back on the highwire. There's not to say that what we do is is is is easy because it's not but after a while you build up enough sources you build up enough reputation. Maybe and and you can usually sort of get your way in anywhere right here. I was a nobody just a complete. Nobody starting to try to do this story. You've probably the vast majority of people who you talked to didn't know who you know who I was and they and I and it's this kind of book. I needed them to trust me. I didn't just need to talk them. I needed them to trust me so they would tell me things and and I was so much fun I loved it so much which I did not know that comes through in the book through honestly the joy of the task. Yeah it isn't like you write some a lot of times you can tell. The person is doing a workmanlike. Sure job but it you can tell you went to so many weird places places this crazy to talk to people and to try to seek people out in people's lives have been changed in that. I really had a lot of admiration for you about that because because you had to go down so many rabbit holes always you know Joe Pas. Nancy will end with this. You are a clevelander and you had a tweet the other day about how you really want to trust the browns. You really want to trust Freddie Kitchens but oh my God can I do it as an objective human being and I'm not that's not what you tweeted but it's basically that so so at this point halfway through this season that was supposed to be at least borderline playoff season that has resulted. She didn't two wins by Halloween. What do you think I do not think very much of what's going on in Cleveland? I you know I I think i. I've seen you write some stuff like this. It was I believe there was. The expectations did not match what was real. You know I mean there was somebody. I think Yahoo. Who wrote you know? He did like the ten the ten fans the fan groups that are going to suffer the most this year and he did the ten of them and it didn't have the browns in. There had to be the first time in twenty years at the Cleveland. Browns were one of the ten longest suffering fans or most suffering fans or whatever that that thing was and I actually tweeted to him like. Are you kidding me. And he's like no the browns. The browns are going to be good. I'm like wow. That's that's bold. Did you know this. This team has proven to not know what it's doing for a very long time and you know they have the pieces. I mean there are I mean. I don't know if they have all the pieces. I don't think that's the case but no all kinds of playmakers and and and bite jumped the gun on how good Baker Mayfield is is right that that was a huge air went with a head coach. Who certainly did some wonderful things last year as a coordinator for the first time in his career but no coaching experience? No head coaching experience. No no very limited coordinator experience so that happens and and then of course injuries are injuries and they happen. Everybody and suddenly you look around. This team is not very good and I don't know that anybody has any idea and they're playing incredibly sloppy right. I mean that's the bad thing I mean. You turn overs in penalties. I I mean that's that's exactly what you don't do and then you don't have coach. Go around telling people. I don't coach penalties. We we know that you've you clearly don't coach how to prevent them. That's that's a big issue so for me. This is so much it's fun because as you know I mean I've been a sports writer for very long time and we work together at sports illustrated and we've done a lot of things. I've written a lot of football but now I have have this opportunity to write what it's like to be a fan right of a team. That's not and hasn't been good for a long time and it's really fun and I. I realized that experienced doesn't not many people right about that. I mean fans do but I mean not many not many people right like a like a weekly diary the way I do about the browns and it's fun to sort of you know even more than I would normally live and die a little bit with it so that I can sort of right about what the experience appearances like and the experience right now is i. I don't think these guys know what they're doing and look out below. Here's one thing that I would that I would say this to me. The first person who ever said this to me was Ken Anderson of the Cincinnati shores. And he said you're never as good as you look when you're winning every week. Yeah you're never as bad as you look when you're losing absolute right and I think that is everything about the Cleveland. Browns grounds. The thing I told people at the beginning of the year and the reason I did not pick him for the playoffs. Is that talent wise. They're starting team. One through twenty two was one of the best twelve Talent groups in football. So you say well you know. Then that's a playoff team but everything else about this team. This organization at this time was was unprepared not that they didn't try to prepare but if the NFL gives you a schedule where in week two WHO. You're on Monday night football in week three year on Sunday. Night in Cleveland. In what you know good friend of mine is from Cleveland. CLEVELAND SAID IS THE BIGGEST GAME in Cleveland since we came back right nineteen thousand nine hundred nine. No doubt okay. You go from the emotion on Monday night too short week you playing on Sunday night. There's Al Michaels and Chris Collins. Yes then two weeks later. You're on Monday night football again. Yeah in San Francisco against is a surprisingly good team. Yes and so this is a this is a franchise that for twenty years has been playing Sunday afternoon at one o'clock with nobody watching right and the sixth broadcast team for CBS. Do in the game. Yes and now. What is it like every week when first of all you've got Nansen Tony Romo Roma Right? And then you've got the Monday night guys. And then you've got collins worth and michaels and so time after time every single time that you try to have just a normal existence or wait a second. There's somebody wants to come in and do a half hour Mike. Tharika wants to do a half hour our with Baker Mayfield and this guy wants this and this guy wants that and all of what I said at the beginning of the year is that the browns have not arrived yet. They're being treated like a team. That has arrived yes and I think a lot of teams probably would be fairly good at handling that except no-one no one on that team. With the exception I would say of Dimitrius Harris the backup tight end mortgage Brunette the safety. They've played deep game games into the January eighteen. You're right no one else of the fifty. Three guys on that team ever has the head. Coach has never coached that even in January January. He's never been a head coach right so I look at all these things and I just said it's a perfect storm designed for them to be seven and nine or eight. which doc I know everybody is going to say Oh my God? That's not progress. Yes it is progress. Yeah you know if you get used to if you get calloused by the the by the bigness. You'll be okay next year. It's just in my opinion. I said this to good friend of mine from Cleveland. The only thing I would say. Just don't overreact. Yeah just don't because you're gonNA wake up at the end of this season depressed. Say I'd still. You'll rather have this team than the Derek Anderson. Her Breezy Quintin. Oh absolutely and I would agree with every bit of that including to the point where I think if they can get eight seven and nine if they can play a second half of the season where they go five and two or four and yeah. Yeah I think I think it's a real progress. I they they have had a tough schedule. Your point is one hundred percent right not only to have a first year head coach but ever first year coach. With this kind of expectation dictation put on them. These kinds of circumstances put on. They've not lived up to that they've not handled it and you can see that a lot of it is is overreaction. A lot out of it is trying to do too much so I don't think that's the issue. I think the bigger issue to me has been the lack of improvement as the season has gone because you go through with one time two times three times. You have a bye week and and then you lay an egg like that in New England where you know you match up and can't come close because you're so outcoached and out. I think ought to be interesting to see Joe in the second half of the season where you get the bengals twice. Yeah steelers twice yeah. We're you've got where you've got and a lot of teams that you've got a chance to win these games right every week. And that's why I think if they end up. Worse than eight nate. or or let's say worse than seven nine which I don't think they will if they end up worse than that then. It's time to worry but I don't I you could. I could it just see this coming. I'm not saying that I could totally see too in five coming but I can see a lot of this coming and I think my only advice to people love the browns is just just. Don't overreacting this right. I didn't I think there are two big questions. And we'll find out when they are because they're playing Denver this week when they're playing teams that they definitely only match up with you week after week. One is is Freddie. Kitchens advancing as a coach because as of right now he's he looks overmatched. All the time and the two honestly is who's Baker Mayfield. I mean I think you know it is. It is really a disjointed experience to watch Baker Mayfield struggle on the field and then watch ten commercials with Baker Mayfield in them and yeah you experience. Good it does. And he's great But what would you know what's going to happen on the field with Baker Mayfield and and I think he has been put unfair position as they all have the NFL and this is what it's about. They played incredibly tough schedule under a huge Mike microscope that they did not necessarily put their they they were running around for the most part telling the only people that were going to the Super Bowl. It's everybody else that was saying that about them so they were put in this situation. They had to live up to it. They have not lived up to it. But now we're going to find out what this team mm-hmm is really about. Joe Poznansky the life and afterlife of Harry. Houdini from avid reader press. I'm I'm a huge fan of yours and I'm a huge fan of this book. I very very strongly recommended. And by the way it's coming coming up the holiday shopping season this is GonNa look so beautiful under the tree. For one specific reason the covers allred. It is very nice very nice nice but anyway joe thanks a lot for coming over and joining me thank you my thanks John. Harbaugh Aaron Jones owns and Joe Poznansky. Now that was a wide variety of podcasting right there but anyway I really. I love the Houdini Book. I strongly recommend it. I know we're I don't mean to just chill for Joe Poznansky but I mean if you like a good story you're GonNa love this book on. Houdini I really

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