"So Joe, in all his coaching wisdom, called timeout and called us over and informed me in his best, charming manner (detect sarcasm here), that I didn't need to make the free throw, I just needed to hit anything and the clock would start, three seconds would be gone and we would win."
Avezzano did worse than Jerry Stackhouse. He air-balled it, and yep, you guessed it, Miami High throws a length-of-the-court pass, and hits a last-second jump shot to win.
"I was looking for condolences," Avezzano would say of after the game. "But in the locker room Joe had some of his old college players and a couple of pro football players who happened to be visiting him for the game in to watch one of his key coaching moments. And so as I was sitting there looking for my coach to console me, he was standing within earshot, telling his buddies, 'There he is! He's the one who lost the game.'"
Thus the start of a beautiful, 48-year relationship, and one that brought former student and coach together in 1990 as assistants for the Dallas Cowboys.
"You know, I'm one of those people when you ask him who won the last five Super Bowls, and even though (that was the business I was in), I couldn't tell you that or who won the Most Valuable Player for the last few years," Avezzano said. "But I can tell you that one of the very few people who affected my life just passed away.
"That's how special he was."
Joe Brodsky was self-deprecating but always brutally honest. He could be verbally abusive, causing Avezzano to admit when they hooked up in Dallas, "Joe Brodsky has been verbally abusing me since I was 14 years old," but would always cut to the chase. Joe, as you can imagine, never minced words, never missed a chance to take a dig.
When Emmitt Smith ended his two-game holdout in 1993, eventually signing that four-year, $13.6 million contract, we walked into the locker room that night well after 11. And there, on a chair in front of his locker was his playbook, causing Emmitt to say of his running backs coach of three years, "That Brodsky." And never one to miss a chance at a dig, instead of the normal "Emmitt Smith" on the cover of the playbook as is the norm, Brodsky had labeled this one "Mr. Emmitt Smith."
And then it was only a week later Brodsky created a media stir when he had this to say about Smith after he played his first game that season: "Emmitt has an average work ethic for a great player. I think Troy Aikman is a great player with a great work ethic. I think Michael Irvin is a great player with outstanding skills and a great work ethic. I'm not going to fine him, and I wouldn't say he's a dog. I'd just like to see the kid work like Tommie Agee, Daryl Johnston and Derrick Lassic."
Joe couldn't leave it at that, un-uh. He revealed how he told Emmitt to put his helmet and shoulder pads on, hit the blocking sled and run some pass routes to prepare for his first start. Smith fired back, "I came here, I worked out. I didn't hit no damn sled and I ain't going to hit no damn sled."
Brodsky would only shrug his shoulders, saying, "I'm going to treat him like I treat every other player. If he gets tired of that, and says to Jerry Jones, 'Listen, I don't need him out there.' Now which way would Jerry Jones go? Would he say, 'The hell with it, I'll keep Brodsky' or 'Let's go get another one of these Brodskys because there's about 200 of them out there. I've heard from other coaches this can be a problem. If it is, I'll get fired because I'm not changing. So let her rip."
You might not have known Joe Brodsky, and not many still here at The Ranch do, save Flozell Adams, Mike Zimmer, the Joneses, a few of the of the trainers, equipment guys, operations guys and secretaries, but you love him, don't you?
Joe was an equal-opportunity ripper.
Let Avezzano explain.
"I admired the way he communicated with people and his loyalty," Joe says. "I just loved it. Joe Brodsky had a quality about him that very few people had that I came in contact with during my years coaching, and I worked for some pretty prominent people. Joe Brodsky was the head coach at my high school when it was all white. Joe Brodsky was the head coach at my high school when it was