Before we get rolling, and my email was great this week, how about getting north of 30 comments on Thursday? You guys rock.
Loads of fun, and gang, feel free to point tolerant and thinking folks to this space. I enjoy the back and forth and the ideas that make me think.
Let's do some housekeeping.
Rushmores this week
Rushmore of TV families: Holy Schnikies this one was hard side question, if I offered Tommy Boy up as the most underrated all-time-great comedy movie of my lifetime, do you have one better than that? Discuss. OK, where were we? Rushmore of TV families. Well, this question started with the Simpsons, and I am willing to split this Rushmore into parts. Cartoon TV families: Simpsons, Flintstones, Griffins (Family Guy) and the Hills (King of the Hill). Sitcom TV families, which was easily the most challenging: Cunninghams, the Pritchetts (and all the entire Modern Family crew since they were all family), the Bradys, and the Conners; Other TV families: The Ewings, The Sopranos, The Lannisters, the Cartwrights.
(Side note: While we are here, if you are writing a pitched TV show about a family, the name should be Taylor, since you have the following success stories of the Taylors in a) Friday Night Lights, b) Home Improvement and c) Andy and Opie Taylor in Mayberry.)
Rushmore of all-time sports writers, which was another one that was WICKED tough: Jim Murray is the best ever. Period. I'll then go Grantland Rice and Dan Jenkins. With all apologies to a collection of dudes who are amazing, my final spot is for Lewis Grizzard, who started in sports at the AJC and wrote the single best column of all time even though it was only eight words and left an entire rail of white space after the 1984 Georgia-Georgia Tech game. (It read "Frankly, I don't want to talk about it." after his beloved Bulldogs lost to the Jackets. It was quite simply the smartest and most effective column in sports journalism history.)
Rushmore o Civil War-related movies: Glory, Outlaw Josie Wales, Gone With the Wind , Gettysburg. (Although GWTW is overrated and I almost went with Red Badge of Courage.)
Rushmore of sports-related George: I have for years said that Jeff George was the most wasted QB skill set in the history of football, but not surprisingly, he does not come close to this very crowded Rushmore. George Herman Ruth, George Mikan, George Steinbrenner, George Foreman, and that is with all apologies to the Iceman George Gervin, George the Animal Steele, George Michaels Sports Machine, George Plimpton, George Brett, Eddie George and CBS NFL Today pioneer Phyllis George.
Here's today's A2 column on my high hopes for the vaccine but the need for al of us to continue to (or remember to) be smart against the COVID.
Here's Paschall's parade of prose in the TFP, which actually, in my opinion, is part of the reason that the print TFP (or online) is still a great bargain all things considered. Paschall on Saban being the oldest coach to win an SEC title and Matthew Butler waxing retrospectively about his time at UT. (Side questions: If I gave you an either/or that Matthew Butler was either a) a huge Black defensive tackle or b) a punter average 45.3 yards per kick, where would your instincts lead? This is kind of a tangent to what Bill Simmons called the 'Reggie Cleveland All-Stars" and I think Matthew Butler may have a spot in that team photo.)
Here are our NFL picks this week, and remember we're on a little bit of an NFL roll as we are 30-25 against the number this year with last night's overtime final going over the 52.5.
Give me Tampa Bay minus-6, Cleveland minus-6, Pats plus-2 and Buffalo minus-5.5 at Denver on Saturday.
To the mailbag
From A Reader
For God's sake Jay- you (bleep)hole - will you stay on our side and quit being so wishie washie.
You say you voted for Trump, you claim to be a Christian, then you are right in line with the lame stream media demanding we are masked and forgetting our rights as Americans!!!
You're no better than those CNN mother(bleepers)! (BLEEP) - you are actually worse since you act like your a Conservative then fall back in line with Pam and Clay and the rest of the Commie loving, Trump hating, America bashing (bleep)holes.
No wonder you got fired from your other job. You should get fired from every job you ever had because you (bleeping) suck.
Mr. or Mrs. Reader —
Normally, I just post my hate mail and let folks enjoy the barbs and backlash of my gig. This one, though, has a couple things I feel obligated to address.
First, I do not claim to be a Christian. I AM a Christian, and while we can all warble in and out of circles of disagreement and angst, I know I am bound for Heaven because of my unending belief in my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He's got a birthday coming up, hope you guys help Him celebrate it.
In fact, if I were to list my beliefs in order, I'd go my Lord, the unconditional love of my family, my country and the undeniable truth that Auburn is going to mess this coaching search up to high Hades. (And I'm not sure that order is 100 percent accurate.)
Listen, here's something else I truly believe, when you are offering as many opinions as I do — and I got fired from the radio for offering an opinion, which I thought was my job, and one I whole heartedly stand by — the only way you can do it is by being honest. If you are crafting messages or trying to preach to a group to grow your click-base, you are at best now and most likely doomed for failure.
And I know I am doing that properly, because Chas right now is chomping at the bit to respond because he can't believe there's anyone out there who would compare me to Clay or Pam. And you know what? That's a good thing. Not because he's supporting me (which of course I appreciate) but because I have the ability to see and speak about multiple viewpoints and the perspective to appreciate different ideas, regardless of the political color from where said ideas were hatched.
Heck, it's like when I was the sports editor, and when the complaints would roll in about whether we were covering too much Baylor or too much McCallie. If I got a balanced number of complaints, then I knew we were doing our jobs properly.
More over, I also believe that far too many in our country are linked to one side or the other — be it to the extremes, be it pro- or anti-Trump, be it whatever — that we can no longer see the good in the ideas, the words, the attempts, the people across the aisle.
And that is a tragedy. Plain and simple. And it's breaking us at our core.
So call me all the names you want, hate me all you want, heck, feel free to do what you feel is best, no skin off my nose.
That said, thanks for reading and please wear your (BLEEPING) mask. In fact, here's today's A2 column a second time about being safe and smart as we get closer to the light at the end of the tunnel that is the vaccine.
But please, remember, the state of Tennessee is the biggest COVID hot-spot in the world right now, and conservative or liberal, we all have to pitch in and fight this thing as best we can.
Speaking of being Jay Greeson, right down the middle, which was what I would say when I ranted on the radio before I was canned, here's another hate mail I got this week:
"Suck your thumb & pout, Greeson, just like Trump."
So there you go.
Also, while we're here, Holy Stupid Calls upon stupid calls. Dang, Tommy Tuberville goes to Washington and steps in it and makes arguably the worst decision he's ever made since calling off the dogs in the Sugar Bowl in 2005 against Virginia Tech when AU needed style points galore. And it looks like Auburn may very well hire Kevin Steele.
Hey Fat Vader, is 8:30 too early to start drinking?
If the Braves succumb to the mob and change their name, how will it affect your fandom? I can imagine a whole bunch of 40+-somethings permanently kicking their allegiance to the curb.
It won't change my views on it in any way, shape or form. For some it may, but not me.
Heck, I kind of think eliminating the Tomahawk Chop from the gameday experience (provided, you know, fans ever get to go back to games again) will have a bigger effect for fans than the names or logos on the jerseys and caps.
Did it change the levels of support for Syracuse? The only Washington Football Team fan I know still pulls for them after they dropped the most offensive name in sports.
Heck, if we go back in time, the Atlanta baseball team was originally the Crackers, which is an awful term. (Not because of it being offensive to white people, but how it came about. From what I was told, it was the most hate-filled way a Black person could refer to a white person because it came from slavery and the Cracker was the white person who was quick and merciless with a whip.)
To be honest, I just ready for the complete overhaul for the Braves monikers, because when they change the name — and it's not if it's when at this point right? — let's make them the Smyrna Whatevers, because by Golly that's where they hang their caps these days.
In truth, I try to be as sensitive as possible and if someone is offended, well that certainly should be heard and appreciated. And the Washington Football Team was easily understood to be offensive.
But in my lily white view, Chiefs and Braves and Warriors, et al., seem more honoring than insulting to me. Yes, the Chief Wahoo for the Cleveland Indians was an issue, but that's going away too.
That said, as long as the boys are playing ball, whatever their team name may be, I'll be watching.
(Side question: What could/should be the Atlanta Baseball Team's next name? I am completely here for the Atlanta Traffic. Thoughts?)
From Backup QB
I read today that your interest has dramatically decreased in College Football National Signing Day, so feel free to toss my mailbag question/talking points aside (or edit it - as I got wordy), if you yawn while reading.
I HATE the EARLY National Signing Day for a number of reasons: (1) especially in 2020, the TIMING is horrible, as teams are preparing for Conference Championship games THIS week; (2) there is so much Coaching movement as silly season has begun - how could any kid sign with Auburn, without knowing who the HC will be ... and lots of movement by assistant coaches (who recruited the kids) moving to take Head Coaching jobs; (3) this major life decision occurs during high school Final Exams, and right before Christmas; (4) some high school state associations (maybe only for 2020 corona-season) are STILL COMPETING (Georgia Semifinals are on this Mailbag Friday I think); and finally, (5) for selfish reasons, we ALL (you, me, and millions of college football fans) LOVED the February Signing Day!!! The season had just ended a few weeks earlier ... Spring Practice had not yet begun ... and we had College Football to talk about in February (vs. this overload in December). Side note: can we declare it an NCAA violation (or just unlawful, period) for recruits to say, "I'm taking my talents to _____________" (thanks Lebron). Side note #2: Deion Sanders flipped a DB from UGA to Jackson State - how many HBCU's have ever flipped a Dawg? Side note #3: Lane Kiffin wearing the "Merry Flipmas" shirt and promptly flipping some recruits: touche or very fun in a Lane-like kinda way?
I share all those talking points to ask the question: what was wrong with the traditional February National Signing Day? Some might say the December Signing Period is necessary because of early enrollees who start college in January, but ... didn't the NCAA ALREADY have a policy in place where those who signed in February could actually turn in their papers early and enroll in January (they would still announce them in February)? I know everything has sped up tremendously in recruiting (not for the better - with 14 year olds committing), but this seems so unnecessary and potentially harmful.
I too am not a fan of the early signing period, at least not this version. My personal preference would be make it even earlier (like the February of a player's junior year), but in today's era of quick triggers that likely would not work either.
There was nothing wrong with the early signing period. In fact I loved it. And the changes have a New Coke feel to them you know? And you are so right about the extended extra month of college football conversation the post-bowls recruiting cycle. That was so much fun.
Now? It's BID-ness, and maybe it always was but we loved the ways we could pretend that it was still our school and our team and it had the ol' college feel, you know?
And I can get behind legislation to make the phrase "Taking my talents to" illegal but only after we put laws in place against the hat dance ceremony with kids picking up different lids and faking this school or that school.
(As or the other side notes, yes Deion Sanders is going to land some dudes and make Jackson State good really quickly and on probation soon after Deion leaves for the FSU job in a few years, and I love Lane Kiffin, and if I was being honest about it, I hope Auburn finds a way to hire him.)
I miss the old recruiting cycle and the buzz about Re-Cruitmas. I really to, Backup QB. Great points.
Jay. I have gone from a kid who listened to a game on the radio every night and whose dream was to play center field for the Pittsburgh Pirates to a casual follower who only glimpses at the World Series. On to my opinion: the playoff has killed college football. That along with four teams dominating has made it boring. No one cares about the lesser bowls now. The selection of the playoff participants is so political for that last spot. Give me college hoops anyday. One loss doesnt ruin your year and the tournament is the greatest event going. Selection Sunday is actually a holiday at my house. Seriously. Next: biggest whiners in college Coach K, Harbaugh, Calipari, and #1Dabo. Honorable mention Roy William's
Saben would be here of he wasn't so successful.
This was not a question as much as it was a quality email filled with quality talking points. I get a lot of those from you smart folks, and I appreciate them greatly.
I too loved baseball as a kid, and Chas asked this week if kids still remember stats. I don't think so.
It's not as appealing. Heck, my 13-year-old can give you who was the lead boom operator for any of the Star Wars flicks, but when I was that age I knew that George Brett was born on May 15 and hit .390 in 1980, Garry Templeton was the first player to get 100-plus hits from both sides of the plate in the same season, and that Rusty Staub was the first guy to get 500-plus hits with four different teams.
Why? Baseball cards mainly.
That said, to Ken's email, I don't think the playoff has killed college football, but the expansion will water it down again. And when they go to eight, there will be moaning and complaints from teams nine, 10 and 11 too. Heck we have 68 teams in March Madness and still there are teams moaning about being left out.
The expansion, though, is not the big ravine in front of college football as we know it, in my opinion, though. What happens when the sport breaks away and the big boys govern themselves, because the questions are numerous?
What happens at the big boy table? (My quick best guess: They make a ton of money, they will have to find a way to compensate the players, and above all else they will no longer need or feel obligated to pretend to be anything but an NFL feeder system.)
What happens to the UTC-level teams? (I believe by the time my kids have kids, after power college football breaks away, there will be two classes of college football. The big leagues of the power conferences will be rolling, and it will be more than the 65 or so teams that are currently part of the Power Five. Then there will be everyone else. Whether that is D-III and non-scholarship football or FCS and played in the spring, who knows.)
What happens to us the fans? (We love it, but by admitting it's big business and not with the comfortable facade and veneer of shamateurism, we don't love it as much. How could we? And if you think there's a quick hook these days for coaches, just you wait.)
As for whiners, your point about Saban — and Geno at UConn — and winners get away with it is spot on. And yes Dabo and Coach K are 1 and 1A in the category.
Enjoy the weekend friends.