The Whole Nine Yards of Imitation

By Michael-Louis Ingram. BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: July 12, 2009

PHILADELPHIA (BASN) – As we go from analog to digital, the clarity between real and Memorex remains more distorted than ever.

In a slight departure from our normal “Imitation” series format, we’re going to offer a smaller version of our look at the sports world through celluloid eyes. Call this a “Coming Attractions” if you will…

“In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little – yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so…”

(Credit at conclusion of column).

Lies, Damn Lies, and…

Of the thousands of players to ever play in the National Football League, only 27 players have more career passing yards than the recently deceased Steve McNair.

While many football “experts” were quick to dump on McNair due to the nature and circumstances of his passing, the premature comments as to whether McNair’s career merited Hall of Fame consideration were simply unwarranted; because, as they say, no one took time to “look it up.”

The two statistics they begrudged McNair had to do with career passing yards and rushing yards – so let’s just work with that for a moment.

What is interesting is who McNair happens to be ahead of on the hit parade; his 31,304 yards are more than the following passers: Randall Cunningham, Lenny Dawson, Ron Jaworski, Terry Bradshaw, Ken Stabler, Joe Namath, George Blanda, Bobby Layne, Jim Plunkett, Bob Griese, Bart Starr, Archie Manning, Norm van Brocklin, Otto Graham, Roger Staubach, Danny White, Earl Morrall, Brian Sipe, Bernie Kosar, Sammy Baugh, Neil O’Donnell, Daryle Lamonica and Bob Waterfield.

Of that bunch, Baugh, Blanda, Bradshaw, Dawson, Graham, Griese, Layne, Namath, Starr, Staubach, van Brocklin, and Waterfield are all in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Of the remaining quarterbacks, Cunningham, Jaworski, Plunkett and Stabler have been on previous lists for HOF consideration.

Everyone else on the list (except Manning) has guided their teams to some sort of division championship or a Super Bowl – like McNair.

With his 3,590 yards, McNair is the 206th rated all-time career best rusher; with well over 20,000 players (and counting) having strapped on in this league, that’s impressive by itself.

His career rushing total tops such players as Cliff Battles, Norm Bulaich, John Elway, Ernie Green, Essex Johnson, Doug Kotar, Keith Lincoln, Reuben Mayes, Terry Metcalf, John Stephens, Charley Tolar, “Deacon” Dan Towler and Charley Trippi.

Of these runners, Battles, Elway and Trippi are in the Hall. One player (Mayes) was a former Offensive Rookie of the Year, and the remaining players, save for Towler and Green, have been the leading rusher for their respective team/s at some point in their career.

Notice we haven’t yet mentioned the three Pro Bowl appearances, All-League selection and MVP award.

Or the fact McNair achieved the level of success he did without sufficient complementary talent over the course of his career. His teammate, tailback Eddie George, ran for over 10,000 yards in his nine seasons; and the offensive philosophy of their Oiler/Titan teams was to run first, run second, then throw the ball.

Linebacker Ray Lewis, a certain first ballot Hall of Famer, spoke glowingly of McNair as an opponent at his memorial service. There is a strong possibility the element of peer accounts will weigh even more as time ticks on.

But in the event it does not, the control of who will and who won’t get in will remain in the hands of self-serving jackanapes who never played the game.

The intangibles like toughness, durability, playing with pain; unless the player is someone whose jock they sucked during their career, these X-factors will be attributes those Slaves to the Press Box choose to avoid.

Sadly, the desire to provide a fair assessment will remain corrupted; so long as the mainstream media continues to function as an apparatus to denigrate and devalue accomplishments of what Black athletes do on the field.

Let us also consider where McNair came from. While we know HBCUs have contributed in all ways that matter to society, many of these former stars from HBCUs like McNair get there – if they get there – long after they are gone. We won’t even get into the whole color thing – that’s a separate piece altogether.

Ultimately, the facts to make the case for McNair are there – it’s all a matter of who is in the smoke-filled room to make it.

Of this you can be sure; it will take more than pompous spouting from elitist anal orifices who chirp that these protagonists are beneath their notice because they know better – in spite of the fact they’re not in the damn room!

So caught up are these fools in desiring to be right and inflect to the world that listening to the negative forces and mentioning how they deliberately poison the process just gives them power becomes even more idiotic – because they had the power to begin with!

It might be easy to think things are better than, say, 1947, if you are Black and happen to be a journalist because you don’t see “White” and “Colored” next to the water fountains and bathrooms in the Press Box area – but don’t get it twisted; things haven’t progressed that far, no matter who the hell is sitting in the not-so-White House…

As we look over the bigger picture, however, the desire to get the proper information out remains the single most important component; because the failure to do the research and “look it up” turns the effort into a circle jerk of jealous jackals who would rather tolerate fleas festering on the follicles of their fetid balls before offering up a kernel of truth befitting their supposed objectivity and “intelligence.”

(“But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations; the ‘new’ needs friends.

“Not everyone can become a great artist; but a great artist can come from anywhere.” Peter O’Toole in “Ratatouille.”)

To be continued…