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Before we get to the back, let's handle the basics.

You know the rules. Here's Paschall on the latest addition to the UT football staff.

You know the rules. Here's a story on Lady Gaga offering half-a-mil if anyone can help her find her French Bulldogs, which were swiped after her dog walker was shot. OK, that's not officially a rule, but it feels like any celeb offering $500K reward for missing mutts reaches rule status, no? Also, how rich do you have to be to have a dog walker? Asking for the rest of us, Intern Scott, Esquire? It also begs the question, if your dogs was dognapped, how much are you paying to get them back?

You know the rules. Here's a story on an arbiter saying the minimum wage hike must come out of the COVID relief bill. Again, not formally a rule, but when I am this right — something that happens so seldom — it feels like cause for celebration.

Here's today's A2 offering on the importance of having your say in the upcoming Chattanooga election.

As for the Rushmores, well, let's move quickly because you guys have some great questions this week.

Rushmore of folks you're surprised are still with us: Keith Richards, Ozzie, Ric Flair, Jerry Lee Lewis, who is only 85 amazingly and has six kids, including Jerry Lee Lewis Jr. and Jerry Lee Lewis III. So there's that.

Rushmore of punchable movie characters Billy Zane in Titanic (I have a CHILD), the Colonel that sends John J. Rambo into the jungle to find Vietnam vets, the Cobra Kai leader from Karate Kid (who has made a great comeback in those online financial planning commercials at Koala Kai dojo) and with all due apologies to Neidermeyer from Animal House, the German officer that steals Inglorious Basterds has to have a spot too. (As for females, if that was allowed, Deloris Umbridge from Harry Potter, Annie Wilkes from Misery, Nurse Rached and any number of wicked women in every Disney movie.) Also should there be a TV version of this?

Rushmore of successful rappers after the rapping was wrapped: Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, Will Smith and Snoop

The question was 'does Drew Barrymore have a Rushmore' and I think the answer is yes, but I'm pretty sure I've barely seen 1/10th of her 75 credited movie roles. I'll offer E.T., Wedding Singer, Wayne's World 2 (smaller role but funny) and 50 First Dates. And that's not, well, as Vern Gosdin and the Rushmore sculptures would say, 'Chiseled in Stone.'

 

From Todd G

Opie made you feel old. You check the days every day, does anything surprise you?

Todd—

What a great collection of questions today, gang. Excellent mix of sports and non-sports and we'll start here.

Few things surprise me. Very few in fact.

Here's one: Folks are mad that Chris Harrison appeared on Celebrity Wheel of Fortune last night. Hey if you want to be mad that the former Bachelor host, Alphonso Ribero and one of Cuban's Shark Tank sidekicks are deemed celebrities, fine. But Harrison's appearance was done for charity and taped in December, long before he was cancelled.

Side note: We have talked multiple times about cancel or consequences in this culture. Harrison's career unraveling is an interesting case study. According to YahooEntertainment!, here is the transcript of the interview Harrison gave that made everyone salty and forced him to step down from his $8 million-a-year gig hosting the Bachelor. (Side note on the side note: Yes, that feels like the entertainment version of the Mike Hampton contract from many moons ago.)

In an interview with Rachel Lindsay, who was the first Black lead in the Bachelor franchise, Harrison was vilified for what many believed was his defending historical racism after dismissing a plantation-themed party a Bachelor contestant from the current season attended in 2018. From Yahoo:

"Is it a good look in 2018 or is it not a good look in 2021?" Harrison asked.

"It's not a good look ever because she's celebrating the Old South," Lindsay explained. "If I went to that party, what would I represent at that party?"

"I don't disagree with you," Harrison said. "You're 100 percent right — in 2021. That was not the case in 2018. Again, I'm not defending Rachael. I just know, I don't know, 50 million people did that in 2018 — that was a type of party that a lot of people went to."

So there's that.

While I have zero idea whether that's defending historical racism or not — heck, that term is so nebulous it's scary, all things considered — but the numerical facts are on Harrison's side in terms of the changed perception of parties, weddings, what have you on plantations across the South in recent years.

So yeah, that one's a bit surprising that Harrison is still in the Twitter crosshairs, even for something as benign as a charity appearance on a game show. That was filmed three months ago and several weeks before the dust-up.

What's the alternative? Cancelling the episode, losing the money and filling ABC proper with dead air, which in turn could have cost the various charities these C-list celebs were trying to help. Now that's some serious cancel ideas right there.

Sorry for the tangent, but that was a surprise this morning.

As for the 'every day' surprise angle to this, yes knowing that Opie Taylor (and Richie Cunningham for that matter) is two years beyond the normal retirement plateau makes me feel older than dirt.

Side note: What's the oldest 'than' cliché reference you know? Better than sliced bread has to be high on that list right, because all things considered, sliced bread as a smile-inducing innovation seems more dated than Rizzo from Grease. Could it be hotter than a $2 pistol, because that feels as old as Fred Flinstone? What about tougher than a $2 steak, which in retrospect, back when Krystals were a dime, probably inflates to a $15-plus steak, which ain't as good as sliced bread per se, but it's better than nothing. Thoughts?

In terms of time and dates, there was one this week that gave me pause. Do you know that it's been a decade since Charlie Sheen had his very public meltdown on social media? Yes, a full 10 years since #Winning swept over all of us.

I would have guessed three years tops, and been OK if it was twice that because of the time befuddler that is COVID. (Side note: Anyone else lost all track of the time perspective during this thing? Some days it feels like COVID just started and some days it feels like COVID started right after Sheen got fired from Two and a Half Men. Speaking of the delineation of the space time continuum, do you know it's been three months since I got booted from Press Row? Nuts.)

 

From Jason
 
Got to tell you man, I started reading your stuff a while back, and this is my favorite online stop. Not to get to personal, but have you ever thought about taking this bigger, Jay?

As for Friday if you have a spot, I know you have said you want to stay away from the ESPN fallback topic of QB movement, but of all the potentially available QBs, who would you go get?

Jason—

Thanks for the kind words, and sometimes I think about exploring bigger, but my job is for the TFP. So they play the music and dance and tip my hat.

The amazing thing about the 5-at-10 is that I started it in October of 2010 as a way to keep writing. At that time I was the sports editor and almost all of my job was administrative and/or editing other people's writing. I got into this to write, and that was the thing I was doing the least.

So, this was born, and now it's a very large part of TFP existence, and because of you guys it's almost always one of the most popular daily features on the website. Crazy right?

As for the QB carousel, the answer is obvious. It's Deshaun, and if I am any franchise that is not the Chiefs, Chargers, Bills and Jags, I call Houston and say what does it take?

Our starter and a first-rounder? Done.

Our starter and multiple picks this year? Done.

Our starter and multiple first-rounders? Done and done.

Pick any other team — even Green Bay and the glorious Aaron Rodgers — and their fortunes improve either now or down the road with Watson, who is the rarest of all commodities. He's an available top-3 QB with elite gifts and no baggage who is 25 years old. Yes, for all the eye candy that the first part of the previous sentence delivers, that he's 25 makes him worth whatever the Texans request.

What NFL team would not give multiple years of 1s for a decade of elite QB play?

If you were the Ravens, you'd be foolish not to deal Lamar for Watson right now. Foolish.

If you were the Falcons, are you not hustling to Matty Ice's freezer to help him pack? (Side question: If the Falcons are looking to deal multiple picks to move up and take Zac Wilson from BYU, why are they not looking to deal multiple picks for Deshaun, who grew up 40 miles north of the A-T-L? Side question on the side question: What's in the water in suburbs north of Atlanta these days considering that Watson, Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields all come from towns in about a 50-mile circle?)

It's Watson for me, and then No. 2 may surprise you. No. 2 on my list is Sam Darnold, yes even above Russell Wilson. I think Russell Wilson is the textbook version of the salary cap casualty QB. Call him Dak 1.0 or even Carson Wentz 1.5. Wilson puts up big stats, but his big success came on his rookie contract as the Seahawks were paying elite defensive players (Legion of Boom) and Marshawn Lynch.

When you have to pay good QBs elite QB money and the rest of the roster suffers for it, you are doomed to have a 4,000-plus-yard passer on an 8-8 football team.    

 

From Ted

Jay, it's been a while since I asked you a formal question and this likely would have been something you talked at length about on the radio, but when I saw the Oreo story you were the first person I thought of.

As you would say, 'thoughts'?

Ted—

Uh, thanks. I guess.

Not sure if you saw a reference to Oreo's and thought of me because I've put on a few (and a few fews, just ask Mark Few; whew that's a slew of fews) pandemic pounds.

Then I was wondering, after the whole Oreo social media hubbub, if the thought of transgender folks made you think of me Ted. Again, thanks?

Nope, I know, you want me thoughts on the whole Oreo scenario after the official Twitter account posted "Trans people exist."

Of course the backlash was predictable, as everyone chimed in from all sides about politicized everything, including snacks.

Side question: Would this now be the first case of shut of nibble? Asking for a friend.

Man, here's my big picture view of freedom in this country, if you are good, and your good does not affect my good, I'm good.

I know there are religious passages that point a lot of good people to hard stances on who folks love and how folks view themselves. But I can counter a whole lot of those with a whole lot verses about loving each other and treating each other how we want to be treated. And that's even before we get into the judge not, that thee be judged. (Matthew 7:1-3.)

Now if you're wondering how I have that view and still do not believe boys who see themselves as girls should compete in girls sports, well, that's a divide and an edge in competition that infringes on the rights of those playing girls' sports.

If I decide to identify myself as a 12-year-old — a statement with which my wife likely would not argue with most of the time — then I'm pretty sure I'm going to be pretty dominant in the Hamilton County middle school basketball league.

Be it age, mental capacity for the Special Olympics or nationality for the Summer and Winter games, we have strict guidelines in an effort to make the playing field fair for the majority of those playing. Thoughts?

And while we are here, it also got me thinking about the irony of Oreo doing this because, by almost every measure and metaphor, the Oreo is easily the most inclusive cookie around, right?
 

From Chris B.

Is Mike Greenberg now the biggest name is sports media?

Chris B.—

I think he has certainly become the face of the four-letter network.

He has the prime morning TV show, a 10-noon national radio show, is dropped in on big-picture stories, and now was given the host role in what may be ESPN's biggest live-action event — the NFL draft.

It's either the draft or maybe ESPN's first two days of the Masters coverage.

But Greeny certainly has become the bees' knees in Bristol. In fact, not since Berman has ESPN put one guy this front and center. And Greenberg is very good. He's self-deprecating and likable. He's occasionally pointed but never controversial and certainly has embraced the ESPN mandate of staying away from politics unless it's easy stances on race. (That said, I think Scott Van Pelt is the best host at ESPN across the board, and really the best across the board considering he's not a one-sport specialist like a Riddick, Bilas or Kurkjian. Of course, I thought LeBatard was the best on radio, and man do I miss that show.)

In some ways though, I wonder whether we should view Greeny as likable? He certainly comes across that way, but I wonder if Mike Golic, his former cohost on the radio would share that view. I don't know either of them, so I don't know. But to answer your question, Greeny is certainly among the top two or three.

For a while I think Bob Costas was the guy that was the face of sports media, and whenever he made an appearance, you knew the event had special meaning.    

As for the face of sports media, right now, I still think Jim Nantz is numero uno, even if he's not the most popular dude in his own NFL booth. Nantz' platforms — Super Bowls, Final Fours, Augusta and big PGA Sundays — is too great.

Told you there were some great questions this week. Enjoy the weekend friends.

some text
Jay Greeson
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