Quick Takes (All Football)
There has never been a Heisman Trophy winner who was as colossal a bust in the same season in which he won the Heisman as Oklahoma’s Jason White. He and his team have in common the fact that they could not perform in the clutch, not once but twice, against Kansas State for the Big 12 Championship, and against LSU for a share of the ridiculous BCS. White didn’t play like a Heisman winner when the chips were on the line.
Then there’s Steve McNair of the Tennessee Titans, co-MVP of the NFL this year. He threw three picks in a winning effort against Baltimore. And in the deciding game-tying or game-winning drive against New England, he committed a stupid intentional grounding penalty that virtually sealed his team’s loss. Yes, his body was banged up, but his brain wasn’t, and clutch judgment plays should be expected of MVP’s.
I recently wrote that Brett Favre is a stud. He is! But every so often, he, too, lacks clutch judgment, and the wounded duck he tossed up for grabs against Philadelphia near that game’s end sealed Green Bay’s fate. That wasn’t the first time he’s shown a lack of quality decision-making.
Then there’s the subject of inferior judgment by NFL coaches; we don’t have the space to do justice to Mike Martz of St. Louis and Mike Sherman of Green Bay. What were they thinking of?
I was 4-0 against the spread by picking the dogs last weekend. And, for the record, I bet on the dogs against the spread this weekend as well. I considered the money line, but I'd rather have the points; it's my security blanket.
Story of the Week
I’m not the author of this week’s feature story. No, this is not plagiarism. A friend of mine, Stan Cooper, wrote the following poem as a gift to me on the subject of my idol, Jackie Robinson.
HE NEVER ASKED TO BE A HERO:
He never asked to be a hero,
For him, playing ball would be just fine.
Potentially, his chance was less than zero,
To overcome that black-white racist line.
Unlike Duke, DiMag and Mickey,
Jackie entered through back doors.
The stage was set by Mr. Rickey,
For Robinson to fight that Civil War.
Sports, they say, mirrors society,
So, they should have hung their heads in shame.
For what was then America’s propriety,
Brought prejudice to every game.
The Brooklyn Bums, at long last, found salvation,
When Robinson’s talents were revealed.
With the awesome double-play combination,
Jackie and Pee Wee brought to Ebbets Field.
Stealing fans’ hearts with baseball fire,
Displaying skills in every way.
Robinson played with such desire,
And intensity every day.
They could never expect from him the expected,
He turned the most racist hate to love.
And finally he was most respected,
Respect that came from more than bat and glove.
For Jackie, baseball was more than just a game,
He opened doors for Campy, Mays and others.
Number 42, deservedly in the Hall of Fame,
Proved men of all colors could play in life as brothers.
Last Week’s Trivia
Who is the only Canadian other than Eric Gagne to win the Cy Young Award? Ferguson Jenkins did it as a Chicago Cub in 1971.
Trivia Question of the Week
Who is the oldest player in NFL history to rush for two or more touchdowns in a game? See next week’s Sports Junkie for the answer.