Tag Archive: Pete Carroll


“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt

There are no statues of critics.

There is no glory for Monday morning quarterbacks.olbermann

Second guessing is the easy part; making the crucial decision in a matter of seconds under the glare of spotlight is not for cold-and-timid souls, who will neither know victory nor defeat.

For many, the perceived and real shortcomings of hated overachievers provide a warm feeling of Schadenfreude. They are so happy that someone better than them is so sad.

And why is this? Maybe because their own lives are so desultory, so mundane, so unfulfilled.

Never underestimate the power and the extent of jealousy.

Almost DailyBrett must ask the jealous types, instead of hating others, why not generate and celebrate your own victories? Instead of rejoicing the shortcomings of others, why not become an overachiever yourself?

Sure wish it was that easy.

From Genius to Goat

Life can be so cruel.

With only six seconds before halftime and Seattle set up for a relatively easy three points, everyone expected Pete Carroll to send on the field goal team.

His quarterback, Russell Wilson, wanted one more shot at the end zone. It was a risky decision as Wilson could be sacked or he could have thrown a pick. Carroll made the decision to go for it. The result: Touchdown Seahawks.

Pete Carroll was a genius. The Man in the Arena had taken a calculated gamble and won. The game was now tied 14-14.carroll

Another Man in the Arena, overachieving quarterback Tom Brady of the New England Patriots, directed two fourth quarter drives under incredible pressure, to put the Pats up by four with time running down.

Seattle had one more chance, and certainly was making the most of the opportunity. First down on the six-yard line became second down on the one. Carroll was more than aware of the comeback capability of Brady et al. and wanted to leave no time on the clock.

As we all know, Seattle threw on second and goal from the 36-inches away. It didn’t work out. In the time it took for Katy Perry and Lenny Kravitz to play the Super Bowl half-time show and two quarters, Pete Carroll had been transformed from genius to goat.

Yes, life can be that unfair.

Being a Stand-Up Guy

“I think the criticism they’ve (Carroll et al.) gotten for the game is totally out of line and by a lot of people who I don’t think are anywhere near even qualified to be commenting on it.” – New England Coach Bill Belichick

The credentialed vultures were circling, and yet Pete Carroll was the Man in the Media Arena.

He faced the music. He answered the myriad of questions. He took full responsibility. He was the Stand-Up Guy.carrollsuperbowl

Predictably, those who know at least four-volumes less about football than Carroll were instant pigskin gurus. Keith Olbermann, who has been unceremoniously ejected from more TV networks than you can count on two hands and two feet, was among those leading the charge.

All the past transgressions – real or perceived – by Pete Carroll came rocketing to the surface. There was no balancing the discussion with the undeniable success of Carroll including two national titles at USC and the only Super Bowl win for the Seahawks. Absent from the conversation was Pete’s devotion to helping others and building “A Better LA” and “A Better Seattle.”

What may bother the jealous types more than anything else is that Pete is a winner, Sunday night notwithstanding. He always has a huge smile on his face. He has tremendous energy. He is 63-years-young and looks like he is 33. He is a classic overachiever. He is the Man in the Arena.

For the jealous, the depressed, the unhappy, the underachievers, they now can rejoice for a short period of Schadenfreude. Maybe they can now all take turns in carving a statue to Keith Olbermann.

The author of Almost DailyBrett would be more than happy to serve as the first pigeon.

http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000468089/article/pete-carroll-continues-to-defend-seahawks-oc-bevell

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pete_Carroll

http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000467707/article/seahawks-pete-carroll-explains-illfated-call-in-super-bowl-xlix

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodore_Roosevelt

http://www.theodore-roosevelt.com/trsorbonnespeech.html

http://espn.go.com/boston/nfl/story/_/id/12277589/criticism-seattle-seahawks-play-call-line-bill-belichick-new-england-patriots-says

 

 

What makes Alabama and Auburn, “football schools”?

ironbowl

And conversely, what makes Duke and North Carolina, “basketball schools”?

It seems that the term, “football school,” has been around since the earth cooled. The ghosts of John McKay, Woody Hayes, Bo Schembechler, Darrell Royal, Bear Bryant, Joe Paterno, Bud Wilkinson and others would certainly agree from their respective resting places in Heaven and Hell.

Ditto for the words, “basketball school,” may also have been carved into the Rosetta Stone to commemorate “The Wizard of Westwood” John Wooden, Adolph Rupp, “Phog” Allen and Jim Valvano.

Does anyone in the State of Alabama let alone anywhere else, besides Sir Charles Barkley, really care about the basketball rivalry between Alabama and Auburn?

Does anyone in the State of North Carolina let alone anywhere else really care about the football rivalry between Duke and North Carolina?

Ask virtually anyone in Alabama what happened in the last second of the 2013 Iron Bowl and a huge smile or a deep sigh will emerge reflecting the religious fervor from both War Eagle and Roll Tide surrounding this game. They already know what they will be doing for nearly four hours on a late November night later this year.

michaelduke

Ask virtually anyone along the eight miles of Tobacco Road separating Duke and UNC and beyond what they are doing this coming Saturday night and they will most likely think the question is rhetorical: It’s North Carolina vs. Duke baby, and the “Cameron Crazies” are ready to go. You can be sure that ESPN’s Dukie Vitale will be there as well.

When one starts listing football schools which institutions immediately come to mind (moving from God’s time zone to the west)?

How about Penn State? Yep. Ohio State and Michigan? Certainly. Notre Dame? Must we? Alabama and Auburn? Definitely. Texas and Texas A&M? Ya better, ya hear. Oklahoma and Nebraska? Yes sir. USC? Fight On! Oregon? Particularly in the last two-plus decades.

When one starts listing basketball schools which institutions come to mind (again moving from God’s sacred Eastern Time Zone to points out west)?

Syracuse? Does the name, Jim Boeheim, ring a bell? North Carolina and Duke? No doubt. Kentucky and Louisville? Yessum. Indiana? Ever see the movie, Hoosiers or read Season on the Brink? Kansas? Dorothy would pass up the Emerald City to check out a game in Allen Fieldhouse. And of course, Arizona.

During the course of a KNBR (San Francisco) radio interview a few years ago, former University of Arizona basketball star Tom Tolbert asked NFL Hall of Famer Steve Young if Arizona would ever go to the Rose Bowl. Young without missing a beat told Tolbert to forget it because “Arizona is a basketball school.”

Even though there are obvious exceptions to every rule, Almost DailyBrett has to conclude that basketball schools are really not very good at football, and football schools conversely are really not proficient in round ball.

Do you remember Indiana’s last Rose Bowl? O.J. Simpson was carrying the ball for the other team.

Can you list the number of NCAA titles in Men’s basketball for USC (We remember you, Cheryl Miller)? That would be … none.

Can you list the number of Rose Bowls for Arizona? You already know the answer to that one.

As a Pac-12 kind of guy, let’s focus on USC, the football school, and Arizona, the basketball school. What makes the two so dominant in one sport and so mediocre (being kind here) in the other?

One could immediately point to tradition, and legendary coaches. USC is Howard Jones, John McKay and Pete Carroll. USC is the LA Coliseum. Heisman Trophies, Song Girls, Traveler, Conquest, Rose Bowls and National Championships. Steve Sarkisian has traded in a lumbering Ford F-150 (University of Washington) for a Lamborghini (USC). As a former football manager at Troy way back in the Gerald Ford/Jimmy Carter years, I can attest everything is football at USC.

carrollusc

In turn basketball was the near-empty L.A. Sports Arena, one of the most dreary and desultory sports experiences in the history of the planet. USC had no home court advantage for literally decades. Wooden was packing them in at Pauley Pavilion. The USC students really wouldn’t even walk a few blocks to the Sports Arena, but would make the same trek in droves to the LA Coliseum.

Today, USC plays in the beautiful Galen Center and no one friggin’ cares. The team is mired in last place in the Pac-12, trailing even the dreadful WSU Cougars. AD Pat Haden (e.g., a football star) hired Florida Gulf Coast coach Andy Enfield and the effort is a never-ending work in progress.

For USC fans, the goal every year is to win the Pac-12 and contest for the national championship, if not outright win the glass football. When it comes to basketball…Do USC fans really care? The answer is, not really.

Quick name a great Arizona quarterback since the Wildcats joined the now-Pac-12 conference in 1978?

How about a legendary Arizona football coach?

Sorry “Bear Down” disciples, Frank Kush coached for ASU. Even though Rich Rodriguez does not want to hear this: Arizona is a study of gridiron mediocrity. Even early erector-set Arizona Stadium makes one’s blood head north. This is NOT a must do college football experience.

lute

Now let’s talk McKale Center. Let’s remember Lute and Bobbie Olson. Let’s contemplate the 1997 NCAA title. Let’s dwell on the likes of Richard Jefferson, Miles Simon, Channing Frye, Salim and Damon Stoudamire, Luke Walton (UCLA Bill’s son) etc. Let’s visualize Arizona getting to the Final Four again this year (if they can make their free throws) with the likes of Aaron Gordon, Nick Johnson, Kaleb Tarczewski, T.J. McConnell and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. Coach Sean Miller has not made AzCat faithful forget Lute, but he is on the verge of starting a new Arizona dynasty in round ball.

Some things change, but more times than not, they stay the same. And when they change, it takes a long time. That certainly is the case for USC basketball and Arizona football.

A football school is a football school and a basketball school is a basketball school.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_Bowl

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carolina%E2%80%93Duke_rivalry

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USC_Trojans_football

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arizona_Wildcats_men%27s_basketball

…It’s Great to Be Anywhere.” – Rolling Stones songwriter/guitarist Keith Richards

keith

If there was an over/under wager 10 years ago on the prospects of Keith ever celebrating his 70th birthday (December 18, 2013), the vast majority of us would have taken the under … and lost.

As it turns out Keef, Mick, 70, Charlie, 72, and (the youngster) Ronnie, 66, are hitting the road again, starting with the UAE on February 21 and then on to Japan and Australia, before finishing up in New Zealand on April 5.

And don’t bet against them continuing their global tour. In fact, you should plan on it.

What gives the Stones the energy, the stamina, the drive to continue on-and-on when their bank accounts are conceivably full and their legacy and place in rock-and-roll history is unquestioned?

Maybe it is this simple: There is a joy in what they do. And why not just keep on, keeping on?

The decision will be based on, can I do it joyfully, because I think we need to have candidates lift our spirits. – Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush on whether he will run for president in the 2015-16 electoral cycle.

jeb

Jeb will turn 61 years-young next week. He is the first Republican to ever win the Sunshine State’s governorship for two consecutive terms. Based on the experiences of his dad (#41) and older brother (#43), he knows exactly what lies in store for him if he declares for the presidency.

And yet he describes his decision in terms of whether he can do it “joyfully.” Is he serious? Is this good politics? Or is it both?

In these days of divisive politics and broken government, the Reaganesque notion of bringing joy, hope and optimism will be hard to pull off in the face of massive skepticism, if not cynicism, emanating from The Fourth Estate.

And yet another in his seventh decade of life, he may be pursuing the brass ring.

Who wouldn’t want to be Pete Carroll right now?

carroll1

The 62 year-old coach supposedly couldn’t win in the NFL. He proved the critics ultimately wrong in front of a U.S. television broadcast all-time record audience of 111 million. Nobody predicted a 43-8 blowout by the Seattle Seahawks against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. And yet it happened.

The rap against the irrepressible, forever youthful Carroll was that he just couldn’t cut it during earlier stints with the New York Jets and New England Patriots, and anyone can win at USC with its easy access to the best recruits in Southern California. If that was true, why did Lane Kiffin, Paul Hackett, Larry Smith and Ted Tollner all essentially fail at Troy? Carroll won the Pac-10 conference a record seven consecutive times.

And now his first Super Bowl win.

Will there be more? I will take the over on that particular wager.

Delivering a recent TED Talk, entrepreneur and motivator Jonathan Fields addressed the subject of Turning Fear Into Fuel for Brilliance.

fields

He discussed how he signed a six-year New York City lease for a yoga studio on September 10, 2001…the day before September 11. The Gods seemed to be ganging up on him…and yet he overcame adversity and sleepless nights, stared down fear and won.

He asked the audience: “What if I do nothing?” He rhetorically responded, stating there are no sideways in life. Change is inevitable. We can make it our friend or not.

He ended his talk by asking another question: “What if I succeed?” Should we be afraid of what we want? Or is success just another opportunity to get better and to explore more in our lives?

You can bet the Stones are not content with their past tours and recordings. Jeb Bush may not be satisfied with just his past record as Florida’s governor. You can be certain that Pete Carroll is thinking about his next Super Bowl win and potentially building a dynasty in the Emerald City. And inevitably, Jonathan Fields will have another motivational lecture to deliver and another audience to inspire.

All of my musings here are intended to be a kick in the posterior for those in their 50s and 60s, who elect to do nothing and let society put them out to pasture.

We can be change adverse and hope that we can merely go sideways, but as Jonathan Fields correctly surmises that is really not an option.

Or we can dare to succeed and stare the prospect of failure right in the face, and make the best of each and every day that remains in our lives. Let’s not merely run out the clock.

For the author of Almost DailyBrett, he is on the precipice of a huge decision, one that could take him north or south. Whatever he decides one door will close and another will open. And once the decision is made? He will resist the temptation to look at his rear-view mirror.

It will be great to be here; it will be great to be anywhere.

http://mayareynoldswriter.blogspot.com/2007/07/passing-vodka-bottle-and-playing-guitar.html

http://www.rollingstones.com/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkFRwhJEOos

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2014/01/31/why-jeb-bush-is-the-single-biggest-question-mark-in-the-2016-sweepstakes/?wpisrc=nl_politics

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeb_Bush

https://www.ted.com/talks

“When you’re winning, no one can hurt you; when you’re losing, no one can help you.” – Hall of Fame Coach and Broadcaster John Madden

Remember (former Vice President) Dan Quayle?

How about (former Attorney General) Ed Meese?

And (former Defense Secretary) John Tower?

And (former White House chief of staff) John Sununu?

And of course, (former NYC mayoral candidate/personal photographer) Anthony Weiner?

This brings us to present-tense USC coach Lane Kiffin.

What do they all have in common?kiffinhoodie

The answer is the media vultures were out for all of them at one time or another. In the end, the vultures picked (or are picking) their bodies to death.

As the press director of the Deukmejian Campaign Committee, I watched with delight and awe as the media took apart our 1982 opponent for the GOP gubernatorial nomination, former California Lt. Governor Mike Curb.

There was not a book to be seen in Curb’s palatial house, gleefully noted the Los Angeles Times.

Curb had not registered to vote (a 10-minute exercise) for Ronald Reagan (or anyone else) in 1966 and 1970 because he was “too busy” for 17 years with his record company business. Thank you LA Herald-Examiner and Valley News and Green Sheet.

The media vultures were circling over Curb’s dying candidacy. It was time for him to go. He was history. He was toast.

It was “vulture journalism” at its best or at its worst, depending on your point of view. The media had made up its collective mind: Curb was not going to be Governor of California.

“No one’s more miserable than myself. So it’s our job to get it fixed.” – Kiffin quoted this week in the Los Angeles Times deftly moving from the first-person singular to the first-person plural.

USC Athletic Director Pat Haden earlier this year described his embattled head football coach as the “anti-Teflon.” Instead of Teflon, Kiffin is Mr. Velcro…everything and anything sticks to him.

haden

Did the Trojans just hold a “players-only” meeting? Who would normally care? These are not normal times. Apparently, no one told Lane Kiffin. Is he out of touch? The media cares.

When asked in the wake of USC’s home field loss last Saturday night to the Pullman Cougars, whether Cody Kessler or Max Vittek was going to be his QB starter this coming Saturday against Boston College, Kiffin said he didn’t know.

You don’t know? USC is paying you $2.4 million annually, and you don’t know…

Besides being the anti-Reagan, Kiffin is also the anti-Chip Kelly the anti-Jim Harbaugh, and most of all, the anti-Pete Carroll.

Everyone is excited about whether Chip’s fast-paced, Michael Vick running the ball Oregon-style offense will work on a week-in, week-out basis in the NFL. Maybe.

Everyone is salivating over the Sunday night matchup between Harbaugh’s 49ers and Carroll’s Seahawks. Harbaugh’s and Carroll’s paths have crossed before (e.g., “What’s Your Deal? What’s your Deal!!!), which adds to the intrigue.

Do you think USC fans would take Carroll back? In a heartbeat. Would they even accept former Stanford coach, Harbaugh? Deep down you know they would.

Just win, Baby!

Even though the hiring of Carroll was not embraced by Trojan alums, they came to adore him. And why not?

He came across as a great guy with a penchant for winning big time.

There are some who contend that anyone can win at USC. Why not? There are more high school and junior college football studs within a 30-mile radius of the LA Mausoleum than there are within a 300-mile radius of Pullman…And yet…Ted Tollner, Larry Smith, Paul Hackett and now, Kiffin couldn’t get it done at Troy.

Carroll was that magical guy with a special knack. Combine Carroll’s coaching persona and genius with the geographic advantages, wealth and tradition of USC, and the result was orgasmic. USC was back and it dominated the Pac-10…seven straight titles…something that will never happen again.

In contrast, USC alums were giddy when Kiffin was hired away from Tennessee after his limp, low-T 7-6 record in Knoxville. No one is cheering now.

firelanekiffin

The biggest mystery is why did three-storied football programs: the Silver-and-Black Oakland Raiders (5-15), the Rocky Top Tennessee Volunteers (7-6) and now the Cardinal and Gold USC Trojans (27-15) hand the keys to their respective Ferraris only to achieve exploding gas tank Pinto results (39-36)? How do you spell mediocrity? K-I-F-F-I-N.

The latest Kiffin tenure was always a media relations train-wreck going someplace to happen.

Was this former USC Athletic Director’s (the guy who hired Kiffin) Mike Garrett’s parting gift to Haden?

Almost DailyBrett can rightfully be accused of piling onto Lane Kiffin.  After all, this is my third blog as a USC grad on this subject. I plead guilty.

Can effective public relations counsel help Kiffin withstand the media vultures at this point in time? Will simply winning rescue Kiffin from his seemingly inevitable fate? Possibly.

Having said that, one cannot discount the most recent losses to rivals UCLA, Notre Dame and more to the point, embarrassing debacles to Georgia Tech (Sun Bowl) and Wazzu…the latter two should not even be competitive against USC.

One suspects the upcoming trips to ASU and Notre Dame will not be pretty. Ditto for the home games against Stanford and UCLA. Kiffin should thank Darwin that Washington and (gulp) Oregon are not on the schedule this year.

Is Haden quietly going over a list of potential replacements? You know for certain the thought has crossed his mind, more than once or twice…

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1770356-usc-football-top-recruits-turning-on-lane-kiffin?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_campaign=college-football

http://www.dailynews.com/sports/20130910/marqise-lee-contradicts-lane-kiffin-on-players-only-meeting

http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaaf/2013/09/08/analysis-mack-brown-texas-lane-kiffin-southern-california-coaches-hot-seat/2782321/

http://www.latimes.com/sports/college/usc/la-sp-0912-usc-football-20130912,0,473654.story#axzz2ehZMTeBN

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/02/03/uscs-vietnam/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/11/09/a-ball-inflation-needle-in-kiffins-coffin/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WeS3VeluAmg

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lane_Kiffin

 

“As I read the decision by the NCAA, I read between the lines and there was nothing but a lot of envy. They wish they all were Trojans.” – Former USC Athletic Director Mike Garrett

“… We’ve cooperated fully.” – Oregon Football Coach Chip Kelly

“Part of the NCAA’s problem here is fairness and consistency, never an organizational strong suit.” – ESPN Pac-12 blogger Ted Miller.

How come the Founding Fathers understood the temptation and eventual tyranny that comes from absolute power being given to one omnipresent body with virtual dictatorial control?

They enshrined in the nation’s Constitution the doctrine of  “Separation of Powers” between the executive, legislative and judicial branches. I know this policy to be true because I read all about it in civics class back in elementary school. We can also watch it in action as the nation is poised to go off the “fiscal cliff.”

powers

Where we don’t see a similar separation of powers is the NCAA or the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Instead, the process appears to be arbitrary and capricious (words that make lawyers happy).

How long will a process take? A week? Two years? Four years? Who knows?

If one university is permitted to go through the summary disposition process (e.g., Tennessee) involving its dealings with recruiting “mentor” Willie Lyles, shouldn’t another university (e.g., Oregon) be permitted to go through the same process involving the same Willie Lyles? That makes sense, except that is not the case.

Former USC Athletic Director (and Heisman Trophy winner) Mike Garrett pursued a course of confrontation with the NCAA. The result was four years of probation, a two-year bowl ban, and a drastic reduction of scholarships.

Conversely, Oregon has chosen a path of accommodation with the NCAA, one subsequently advocated by new USC Athletic Director Pat Haden for his school. And yet, after two-long years, the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions (COI) wants to hold a hearing to drag Oregon figuratively through the burning coals.

ESPN blogger Ted Miller wrote recently, “It’s possible that the COI just wants to talk.” And talk they will in February or April or June or August. Heck, why not all of them?

As a resident Duckologist and super Oregon fan and informal commentator for a generation, I am frequently asked what will happen to the Ducks before the NCAA because of Le Affaire de Lyles (e.g., $25,000 payment to Lyles allegedly to recruit a player, Lache Seastrunk, who was buried in the Oregon depth chart and never played a down for the Ducks).

I am also asked if Chip Kelly with a record of 45-7 will bolt for the NFL (there are jobs galore open today) purely because of the NCAA and Willie Lyles. The insinuation is that Pete Carroll left USC for the Seattle Seahawks because of the NCAA, so why shouldn’t Kelly do the same?

My answer to both questions is HIIK…Hell If I Know.

And that is the point. Even if you look to dysfunctional Washington, D.C., you can reasonably expect a Democratic White House to behave in a certain way. You can anticipate the Democratic Senate to go one way and the Republican House of Representatives to go the other. The Supreme Court with its 5-4 conservative majority more times than not will come down in the predictable fashion.

The NCAA and predictable fashion are oxymorons. The NCAA almost wiped out the economy of State College, Pennsylvania. What will it do to Oregon? Yes, I fully understand the difference between Jerry Sandusky and Lyles, but I still see no consistency of deliberation and enforcement…what the lawyers like to call, precedent or precedence.

emmert

What I do see is NCAA President, Dr. Mark A. Emmert, sitting in judgment over the University of Oregon. Emmert was the president of the University of Washington for six years and received his bachelor’s degree in political science from the same school that is the most intense rival (putting it mildly) of the University of Oregon.

 

He should recuse himself from this process.

In the final analysis, I am hoping for the best from the NCAA and fearing the worst. Something tells me to anticipate the latter. That will make the folks in Seattle and Corvallis real happy…until it is their respective turns.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Separation_of_powers_under_the_United_States_Constitution

http://sports.yahoo.com/news/ncaaf–oregon–ncaa-reach-impasse-in-football-investigation-215913743.html

http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaaf/pac12/2012/12/21/oregon-ducks-chip-kelly-ncaa-investigation-recruiting-services/1783763/

http://articles.latimes.com/2010/jul/21/sports/la-sp-usc-garrett-haden-20100721

http://bleacherreport.com/tb/d9cHT?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_campaign=oregon-ducks-football

http://espn.go.com/blog/pac12/post/_/id/51448/oregon-fans-should-be-worried-and-angry

http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/8764076/oregon-ducks-ncaa-hearing-scout-willie-lyles-according-source

http://www.ncaa.org/wps/wcm/connect/public/ncaa/ncaa+president/mark+emmert+biography

“When you’re winning, no one can hurt you…

… and when you’re losing, no one can help you.” – Former Hall of Fame Coach and Broadcaster John Madden

A rogue student manager has been deflating footballs at USC.

The Pac-12 reprimanded and fined USC for the practice.

And according to Head Coach Lane Kiffin, the (now fired) student manager was acting as a lone ranger, even though footballs are easier to throw when they are slightly deflated.

lamekiffin

How do I know this?

I was a student manager at USC during the 1976 and 1977 seasons. Even more precisely, I was the student manager working with the offensive coordinator at the time, Paul Hackett, the quarterbacks (e.g., Vince Evans, Rob Hertel and Paul McDonald) and wide receivers (e.g., Shelton Diggs, Randy Simmrin).

For each game, I was responsible for getting the USC football into the game when the Trojans were on offense. That meant following the line of scrimmage, carrying at least two footballs, for the better part of three-plus hours.

During the Rose Bowl played on January 1, 1977 against Michigan, our quarterback, Vince Evans, kept a ball-inflation needle in his sock. The needle was not used to inflate footballs, but for the opposite reason.

The referee and other officials kept throwing the under-inflated balls to me and demanding an inflated ball. Vince, in turn, kept on deflating the balls. This put me in a classic Catch 22.

When I told Vince about the officials tossing the underinflated balls out of the game, he responded with an imperative. I think it was something like, “Duck you, Kevin!”

We managed to win the game over Michigan, 14-6, and finished #2 behind Tony Dorsett and the Pitt Panthers for the national title. The incident with the ball-pump needle went into the DRAM (Dynamic Random Access Memory) of my brain and remained there…until this week.

How serious is an underinflated football on a bending-the-rules scale of 1-10? How about a “five”? Yes, it may be easier to throw a football and that certainly is a factor for USC with a great passing quarterback, Matt Barkley, and all-world receivers. Conversely, one would think it would hurt the performance of the punter and field-goal/extra point kicker. USC punted only once last Saturday against Oregon.

My problem with this story is why would a 19-20-21-year-old student manager be deflating footballs without anyone else on the football team (e.g., coach and/or player) knowing anything about it?  This one doesn’t pass the giggle test.

And was it the (scapegoat?) manager that was deflating the balls or maybe a player with a ball-pump needle in his sock? It’s happened before.

What is more germane about this story is how it relates to Kiffin. Let’s face it. This guy is an Oakland-Knoxville-Los Angeles public relations disaster zone always waiting for the next installment. When you open up the dictionary looking up the word, “arrogance,” Kiffin’s mug shot will most likely jump out of the page.

His predecessor, Pete Carroll, was Mr. Public Relations. Pete was everyone’s pal. He was a player’s coach. He was a good interview. He was the face of USC football. Heck, he even risked his life night-after-night, driving into the worst parts of LA to give youths a third option besides jail and death.

Have you ever heard about Kiffin giving back? Opposing teams aren’t even allowed to walk through the LA Coliseum the day before games with the Trojans.

The marauding student manager story follows the quick and painful end of USC’s over-inflated dream of playing in the BCS national championship. The team has lost two straight, surrendered 101 points in the process, and is looking at the prospects of playing in the…Holiday Bowl.

Besides generating controversy du-jour during his relatively brief stays with the Oakland Raiders, Tennessee Volunteers and now USC, Kiffin has consistently parlayed Viagra expectations into Low-T results, 43-37 overall.

What does the fired student manager, underinflated football-gate mean to squeaky clean, play-by-the-book USC Athletic Director Pat Haden? If this was an isolated incident in the nation’s second largest media market, it most likely would be noted and quickly forgotten.

But with USC coming off the third most severe set of NCAA penalties (exceeded only by Penn State and SMU) and considering Kiffin’s repeated bouts with controversy, this may be another small nail (or ball-pump needle) in Kiffin’s coffin.

Haden must know that someday, sooner or later, he will have to terminate Kiffin and maybe even spend literally millions to buy out his contract. Sometimes acknowledging mistakes of your predecessor (e.g., Mike Garrett) is costly. You sure can buy a treasure trove of ball-inflation pins, even with millions of inflated dollars.

Editor’s Note: As mentioned, I managed the USC football team for two seasons, earning a Tommy Trojan statue for my service. I have a Rose Bowl ring and watch, and graduated from Troy with my undergraduate degree in broadcasting journalism. I also managed the football team at the University of Oregon. I am a 23-year season ticket holder at Autzen Stadium and a member of the Duck Athletic Fund. I received my master’s degree from, and presently teach public relations at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication.

http://espn.go.com/los-angeles/ncf/story/_/id/8608359/usc-coach-lane-kiffin-says-manager-deflating-footballs-acted-alone

http://www.latimes.com/sports/sportsnow/la-sp-sn-usc-football-lane-kiffin-no-comment-delated-footballs-20121108,0,5616530.story

http://www.latimes.com/sports/sportsnow/la-sp-sn-usc-football-culture-dufresne20121108,0,822130.story

http://www.latimes.com/sports/college/usc/la-sp-1109-plaschke-usc-footballs-20121109,0,6907619.column

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