Monday, November 13, 2006

Setting the Record Straight

I was sitting in the sports book at the Bellagio Sunday evening pissing away some money on races at Hoosier Park when I was struck by a few ideas: 1) Who bets on sprints? 2) How ironic is it that I fly hundreds of miles only to end up betting on horse races happening 25 minutes drive from my house? 3) Why aren't I watching the Bears vs. Giants game?

It didn't take too much time to realize what was at stake. This was much more than a game for home-field advantage in the playoffs. This was more than a surging Giants team running into a reeling Bears team. This was the Big Apple vs. the Second City. It was a good, old-fashioned, sports book mook off! There were requisite cheers for and against every play plus some guy who screamed for each snap to end in a touchdown. I kid you not, at one point the guy belts out, "Big Hit! Fumble! Touchdown! Arrghhhgh!"

It was a swing pass for about six yards.

After meer moments, I leaned over to my wife and proffered, "If you think this is nuts, wait till OSU and Michigan next week." This Saturday's matchup might prompt more security at sports books than the ill-fated Crips vs. Bloods Jone Off.

This 1 vs. 2 matchup is a slice of BCS heaven/hell depending on your allegiance to the Big East. I can't think of a bigger late season game in my life, and the coverage so far has backed that up. Polls and BCS rankings have been released and everyone's spewing stats and history all over the sports universe. Then it happened, and I knew it inevitably would. ESPN starts showing its "INSERT YOUR NOUN Lives Here" commercial complete with Desmond Howard's 93 yard return for a touchdown against Ohio St. in 1991. You know the one, Howard strides into the endzone and then in one of the most undercriticized dick-moves in sports history, strikes the Heisman pose. However, what so many people seem to conveniently overlook is the fact that Desmond Howard TOTALLY F*CKED UP THE POSE!

Try this: walk onto the nearest streetcorner in Whereeveryouare, America and ask someone to pose as the Statue of Liberty. They'll get it right; right hand up, left hand clutching an imaginary tablet, huddled masses at their feet. The Statue of Liberty is something most Americans identify with personally. It embodies ideals of excellence that most of them strive to display, much like the
Heisman trophy might embody the football excellence college players strive toward. Desmond Howard totally screwed it up...and he had props.

Is no one willing to call out the legions of people who follow this sham and sully the legacy of Ricky Williams and Gino Torretta? The faux-pose has surfaced enough times since (from the 1992 Rose Bowl where big Blue got shellaced by Washington to Kyle Orton's paltry Heisman bid) to prompt action. Let's take a look at the dissimilarity between Howard's farce and the real deal.

1) Howard decides to pull his left leg off the ground at a rakish angle. The true Heisman keeps both feet grounded and in no way looks like he's popping or locking.
2) Howard holds the ball in his right hand, Heisman tucks it away in his left.
3) Howard offers a flitty near wave with his left arm while Heisman is chucking out some dislocating, Kojak-yo-ass stiffarm.
4) Howard smiles a shit-eating grin while the trophy keeps all emotions under wraps, sneering until his post-game interview with someone fetching, say Rachel Nichols if she covered college ball, pulls out a slightly glinted grin.

It's quite true that this Saturday should go down in college football lore as well as being woven into the vicious tapestry that is the OSU/UM hatred. It will no doubt prompt something from the Dead Schembechlers. God willing though, barring any post-touchdown abominations, the game won't make John Heisman roll over in his grave yet another time.

Oh yeah, he's from Ohio.

The real John Heisman


GentleWhoadie9000 said...

Howard didn't do it right, but then again, neither did you.

"Heisman" is a guy who played for NYU named Ed Smith. Howard was wearing a facemask, whereas Smith was not. Also, when was the last time you saw anybody run like Ed Smith- hunched over to about 1/2 your actual height, twisted halfway around, blissfully ignorant of the forward pass? You also forgot to mention that Howard is black, whereas Smith is white.

Anonymous said...

Desmond Howard's pose is much prettier. I don't think anyone under the age of 50 would object to the statue being remolded in Desmond's image. He did kick ass that year.

the under 50 crowd said...

I strenuously object.

Jonesy said...

I love the post and I hate Michigan with the passion of a thousand suns, but I have to correct you on one thing:

Desmond Howard is from Cleveland, Ohio...and so is Elvis Grbac.

Ross McLochness said...

Point of order, I never disavowed Howard's nativity. He did that himself by playing for Michigan.

And to gentlewhoadie's assertion that I neglected mentioning Howard's skin is black and Ed Smith was white, I was comparing the trophy, not Ed Smith, to Desmond Howard. The trophy is in fact bronze in color.

If gentlewhoadie is looking for a modern stiffarm, I give you this.

That should look akin to something mentioned earlier.

Anonymous said...

I've got to get the hell out of Ohio

Ross McLochness said...

Mr. pg,
Was that a well-heeled Nerf Herder reference?

Anonymous said...

I don't think you can do the Heisman pose without falling over. At least, not without some undivided concentration. Look at the statue: it looks like a snapshot from a game of Twister.

Little known fact: Howard did the Statue of Liberty after the next touchdown. Then he did the Lenin. Finally, he emulated a lamppost. Experts agree that none were as brilliant or as memorable.

Anonymous said...

Howard's Heismann is the version made popular by club-goers when trying to explain to their buddies how they gave some fat chick "The Heismann". The actual trophy would qualify as "completely gay" if it weren't for old movies like Knute Rockne: All American, where we can see how the leatherheads actually ran with the ball.

mp said...

I think the point you seem to gloss over is that everyone knew exactly what he was doing, so the meaning was conveyed and it was a perfectly valid pose. Not to mention that it's probably one of the most recognizable images of a touchdown celebration in college football history.

It was groundbreaking at the time, occurred in the greatest rivalry of all time, and was performed by a guy who went on to win the Heisman. It's pretty much beyond critique.

Anonymous said...

It's pretty much beyond critique.

I suppose the only valid critique would be that he did it wrong - which, from what I read - is the only critique leveled.

Anonymous said...

I bet Nerf Herder could get three tickets to that game.

Anonymous said...

fuck all you haters, GO BLUE