O.A.R’s sax player is also a fantasy owner

If ever there were an instrument to lay a soundtrack under the soul-crushing conclusion to the Cleveland Browns 1986 season, it would be the saxophone. A Mississippi Delta blues score composed on the shores of Lake Erie.

“I remember crying in 1987 when they didn’t quite make it,” Jerry DePizzo, then seven-years-old, said. “I remember watching the game on television with my old man and literally crying when {John} Elway stole our hopes and dreams.”

No doubt influenced by “The Drive,” musical pioneers Charlie “Birdman” Parker and Lisa Marie Simpson, DePizzo picked up a sax and learned to play. Some 24 years later, the young man born halfway between Cleveland and Pittsburgh in Youngstown, Ohio, helps lay a soundtrack of celebration and good times as the saxophonist for the group O.A.R. (Of A Revolution).

A former student at THE Ohio State University, DePizzo enjoys consuming football as much as he does the laid-back, festive atmosphere of a concert scene.

“I’m one of those guys who will watch any NFL game,” DePizzo said. “As long as there is pro football to be had, I’m watching.”

Caught in the middle of Browns and Steelers country and with family in Pittsburgh, the sax player admits his adoration for Bernie Kosar, Ozzie Newsome and Ernest Byner trumps the six Lombardies on display in the Steel City.

“In my heart of hearts I’m more of a Browns fan. The late 1980’s almost, woulda, coulda, shoulda in Cleveland really hit home.”

DePizzo’s love for the brown and orange only goes so far. His favorite player is Peyton Manning, a sports crush first formed when the Colts quarterback engineered a 21-point rally with four minutes to go in regulation against the Buccaneers back in 2003.

“This guy has transcended this position into an art form. It’s unbelievable. It’s like having an offensive coordinator at the line of scrimmage.”

If you chalk DePizzo’s knowledge of the NFL up to quick study, know this guy was the one who brought up Manning’s injury status during the interview. He was worried that off-season neck surgery would force the Colts’ franchise player to miss the start of the season.

Although he considers himself a middle of the road player, it’s this attention to detail that makes DePizzo a threat in his fantasy football league. For the past three seasons, “The Italian Stallions” have been picking off playoff contenders one by one. And if you ask me, his story of success stems from his dedication to the holiest of fantasy football days.

“I was on a family vacation and was glued to my computer drafting. My wife was yelling at me ‘Come on you have to start the fire! You have to play with the kids!’ and I’m like ‘Leave me alone! It’s draft time.”

I just got choked up.

“{The Italian Stallions} finished a couple clicks above five-hundred last season,” DePizzo said. “I’m the guy who destroys post-season wishes of the other owners.”

Somewhere, in the high hills of Colorado, John Elway just picked up a saxophone.

Here are some guys Jerry has his eye on in the upcoming Fantasy Football Draft.

QB – Aaron Rodgers

“I had Aaron Rodgers last season and he obviously did fantastic for me. With Manning’s neck injury and a possible slow start to the season, Rodgers isn’t a bad bet and a guy I’d go with.”

RB – Mark Ingram

“I think the guy is going to be a workhorse. He obviously has fresh legs. He’s a north-south runner and the guy I would go with right now.”

WR – Roddy White

“This is where I usually flail. I went with Dez Bryant last year and I did okay with him until Romo got hurt. Not a bad choice. Roddy White wouldn’t be a bad choice either; he gets a lot of balls. I think Julio Jones will free up some space for him.”

TE – NA

“You know, I have no idea.”

K – Nick Folk

“I went Nick Folk last year in my draft (Editor’s note: in the fourth round). My friends were like ‘you’re an idiot’ and I probably was. I know I was.”

Jerry DePizzo and O.A.R. just released their seventh album “KING”. For more information about the album and the band, be sure to check out their website ofarevolution.com.

 

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