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From Matt H

Thanks for the 5-at-10, Jay. I read it every day.

I know you did not enjoy The Last Dance as much as I did. What kind of expectations do you have for the Lance Armstrong 30/30?

Matt—

Excellent question my man. Hope you guys are safe.

First, my expectations will forever be tempered because on one of the reasons I was disappointed in TLD was that I expected it to be an O.J.: Made in America level of great on a topic that is way more entertaining and enjoyable.

It was not close.

As for the next three 30-for-30s, well, I look forward to the Bruce Lee one most, mainly because I know the least about his story.

As for "Lance" which starts its two-part run this Sunday on ESPN, well, I expect there will be a heavy Lance Armstrong influence and it will be curious to see how much that affects the story-telling and the perspective.

Because Jordan's role as filmmaker more than lead character is what really changed TLD in my opinion.

Here's hoping that Lance had no where close to the influence that MJ did on the process of making the film, because that makes it more story-telling than documentary.  

From A Reader

You are such a hypocrite. You're now criticizing Trump? Do you even think about the (bleep) you write before you put it in the paper?

Pick a side you (bleep)hole!!!

A Reader —

Yes. Normally.

As for the 5-at-10, well, thoughts are optional, depending on how late I sleep.

Hey, thanks for reading, and I'll offer this: I'm kind of thankful that my perspective can allow me to see and comment on the good and bad deeds, speech and actions of all politicians, regardless of the letter after their name or the convention they attend.

More, not less, openly critical thinking will help transform our broken society and systems way more than the divided, blind followers who only want to hear reaffirmation than real conversations.

With that, A Reader, to borrow the words of Skip Carey back in the dreadful days of Braves baseball, if you promise to patronize our paper's advertisers, you have my permission to never read anything I write ever again.

God forbid someone make you actually, you know, think.

From TC

The NFL owners/gm's are hiring who they think is the best candidate for their team. What needs to be "fixed" about that process? Doesn't the best man win?

TC—

I have thought about your question a great deal. It's a fair question that, like a lot of challenging issues these days, has duality and needs balanced consideration.

All things being equal, yes, the best man wins. But the fix is needed most when the owners themselves realize they need help in offering a level playing field. And that phrase  — leveling the playing field — is maybe the most important line item when discussing the Rooney Rule and the hiring of minorities.

Your wording is fair. Yes, you would hope that "the best man gets the job" theory would always prevail, but the numbers simply dispute that.

Is it because of racism? Hard to say, because the overwhelming numbers — close to 70 percent of the NFL players are black — of guys on the field would certainly suggest otherwise.

Is it because of cronyism? Maybe, and that affects all sorts of industries as well. But those industries do not covet and thrive with the type of day-to-day scrutiny and crave the 365-a-year talking points that the NFL does. With that billion-dollar-a-year-generating spotlight comes difficult conversations that are drive frequently about appealing to the perceptions and social issues from the public. Just ask Colin Kaepernick.

There are multiple layers to this, and often that perception we referenced is more important than practicality, especially when next-to-none of us by percentage will ever be involved in the interviewing process for any of these gigs.

Now, the other side of this in terms of that all-powerful perception is that mistakes — be them in the hiring process, the promotion system, free agency and even the draft — happen in terms picking people to be part of your team or your business.

Those mistakes can be called a lot of things, and sadly, the word racism is attached at times to the hiring decisions. Conversely, draft busts are almost never categorized as biased or racially charged.

Thanks for the question, TC.

From Backup QB

Jay,
 
Not sure if I am in the minority or in the majority, but I am weary of corona-talk or maybe I'm just living in yesteryear.  With that said, I know the rules when Paschall writes on SEC football, we all read it.  The lists of UGA, Bama, and Vols' greats have been outstanding, but one feature in particular really made me think.  I loved his take on the domino effect that Fuad Reveiz had on Tennessee Football.  As a life-long Johnny Vols fan, I have always appreciated Reveiz (well, his Kicking more so than his abilities on the mic on the post-game call-in show) and considered him Tennessee's best Kicker ever, but I would have never thought to put him on a Top 5 list.  Paschall may be a trial lawyer, in between his writing gig and Press Row, because he convinced me on the impact Fuad had on one of the Big Orange's greatest era's, the 1990's.  I have never heard anyone state that his game-winning kicks in the early 80's saved Johnny Majors job, which saved Phillip Fulmer and David Cutcliffe's jobs!  Of course, no Fulmer or Cutcliffe and there is no Peyton Manning.  Wow!
 
I would love to hear your take on (a) are there similar examples at other Football programs, particularly in the SEC, say Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, and Florida, where an unsung type hero led the program to their greatest stretch in modern history – or in your lifetime, and (b) can you think of a similar domino effect where one player or one event or one game led the complete turnaround of one of these programs?
 
Thanks for keeping us entertained in the most mundane stretch of time in our lives!
 
Backup QB—

Such a great question, and I will get Paschall's input next week when I return to Press Row. (Headed to the lake this morning after my writing duties are done gang. Giddy-up.)

(Side note: Here's Paschall's No. 1 on the UT list and yes, it's Reggie White. Also, Reggie looked awesome in his awesomeness in those orange on oranges, no? Side question on the side note: Wow, Backup QB, look at the archive photo of Reggie and remember the good-ol' days of thigh pads. Man, how many players of this day and age would even recognize the old-school butt pad from back in the day?)

We wanted to include it today even though Backup QB submitted this puppy late Thursday.

He was a five-star recruit, but after transferring from junior college, Cam Newton did not get secure the starting job during spring practice and was somewhat erratic during September of that memorable 2010 season on the plains.

We know the lasting effects Herschel had in the early 1980s — and Paschall would know this better — but he very well took Vince Dooley off a seat that was getting increasingly warm. Before the 1980 title run, Georgia finished 5-6 and unranked, 9-2-1 and ranked 16th and 6-5 and unranked the previous three seasons.

I too loved the butterfly effect of Fuad's fearless foot.

Here's another domino effect theory that just popped into my head.

There was a program-changing recruit that picked Florida narrowly over Alabama. He went to the Gators and had a hand in two national titles and won a Heisman.

That commit was Tim Tebow, of course, but if he had gone to Alabama, his will to win likely would have added a few extra years to Mike Shula's tenure. And if the timing had not worked perfectly — and that stupid Rich Rod had not backed out — then Lord Saban would not have gone to T-Town and built the game's biggest dynasty in modern history.

Of course, Florida hiring Spurrier was a total program changer. So too was LSU hiring Saban come to think of it.

Great question. Stay safe, Backup QB, and here's hoping we're all back on the field come fall.

From Joe Don

JG:

Doing some COVID channel surfing this week, I came upon Escape From Alcatraz, a must-stop-and-watch. But during a commercial break, I stumbled on The Shawshank Redemption.

What a dilemma for an evening!

That prompted me to think about the Best Prison Escape Movies: Shawshank Redemption (Robbins & Freeman), Cool Hand Luke (Newman), The Great Escape (McQueen), Papillon (McQueen & Hoffman).

Honorable Mention to Alcatraz and The Count of Monte Cristo.

Whatcha got?

Joe Don—

Great question my man, and a strong Rushmore. (Side question: It does not include escape plots, but in terms of the prison movies that make me stop every single time, go ahead and add "Sleepers" to that list.)

I will start by knocking the excellent Papillion and replacing it with "O Brother Where Art Thou." It also means Stalag 17 moves to the top of the Honorable Mentions list, which is a strong second team, to be honest.


Side question for the group: Con Air is technically a prison break movie, right? That's a deep top eight friends.

Thanks for the question.

This week's Rushmores

Rushmore of NBA buzzer beaters: Jerry West from 60 feet to force OT in the NBA Finals, Jordan against the Cavs, Gar Heard against the Celtics in the 1976 Finals and Kawhi's double-pumper in the 2019 playoffs.

Rushmore of late-night TV hosts: Carson, and he's so far left Bernie Sanders has to turn his head to the port side and squint, Letterman, Conan O'Brien, and Larry Sanders (as played by Garry Shandling)

Rushmore of bandits: Bo from Smokey and the Bandit, Skoal bandits (which started my generation dipping, sadly), Butch and Sundance (who always felt more like bandits than criminals, no?), Robin Hood, and Steve Spurrier as the coach of the Tampa Bay Bandits. (He's Spurrier; of course he makes it.)

Rushmore of Oscar: The Grouch is there, Oscar as in the Academy Award is there, Oscar from The Odd Couple is there, and Oscar "The Big O" Robertson.

Have a great Memorial Day weekend friends. Stay safe.

some text
Jay Greeson
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