Welcome to The Way I See It… abandon all hope, you who enter.
In this edition, I’ll touch on the origin of this column, Deion Sanders, Fernando Tatis Jr., and anything else I can conjure up to satisfy my editor’s minimum word count requirement.
As I was trying to decide on the column I wanted to pen every week, I was beset by competing desires; I wanted something interesting enough to pique the interest of the readers, yet nothing that would require me to exert any undue effort. Basically, I’m extremely lazy when it comes to writing. I helped popularize the genre of analytics-based fantasy sports journalism simply because my algorithms essentially did 90% of the creative heavy lifting for my columns (including the ones that garnered me an FSWA award and numerous nominations).
Unfortunately, my partner and editor is insisting I put in some effort (must be all that military training, he’s like a drill sergeant). So rather than deal with his nagging about my never reaching my potential (I have a mother, wife, and sister that do that on a nearly daily basis), I just decided to give in to his demands. Just like Patty Hearst, I’ve welcomed the Stockholm Syndrome and simply learned to love my captivity.
So I decided to revive The Way I See It, the first regular column I authored for Gridiron Grumblings way back in 1995. I figured it got great reviews back then, it should get great reviews now as well, right? I mean, has the world really changed all that much in 27 years?
Let me be upfront: when Deion Sanders played in the NFL, I couldn’t stand him. I thought he was the embodiment of everything that was wrong about professional athletes: arrogant, flashy, unsportsmanlike. After his retirement as a player, I came to really appreciate his keen mind for the game, his honesty (and understated sarcasm) as a commentator on the NFL Network.
That’s why I found myself agreeing with most of his comments this past week regarding the NFL Hall of Fame: “That’s what the Hall of Fame is, a game-changer,” Sanders said. “Not ‘I played good, I had a good little run. I gave you three or four good years.'” Prime is right: players should not be gaining entry simply because they had solid careers and were good people.
I’m not sure who Coach Prime had in mind when he made his comments, but one player I had a problem with gaining entry to the Hall in 2022 was Tony Boselli. Was he a good, sometimes dominant OL? Sure… but he only played seven seasons (91 GP) and wasn’t always 100% healthy when he did play. Boselli seems to have benefited from a weak field of nominees– but his gaining entry dilutes the honor of membership for the entire Hall.
The disappointing news drooped last week that the San Diego Padres young star Fernando Tatis Jr. was being suspended for 80 games due to PED use.
The results of the suspension are like a shot to the heart for the Padres: after acquiring Juan Soto at the trade deadline and barely clinging to a playoff spot, the team was looking forward to the return of their 23 year old franchise player, who has missed all of 2022 thus far due to an off-season injury.
Now, thanks to his use of Clostebol (a banned testosterone-boosting anabolic steroid), Tatis will miss at least the rest of the regular season (46 games as of this writing), any playoff games the Padres are involved in, and the balance of the 80 games sentence would be imposed at the beginning of next season. Most troubling for the Padres and their young superstar, he has missed 275 of a possible 548 games in the majors– including this off-season’s wrist injury, likely due to a motorcycle mishap. He’s a lot like James Harden: supremely talented, but seemingly unlikely willing to do what it takes to be a winner.
Good luck with that 14-year, $340 million extension you gave Tatis in 2021, Padres; I can’t possibly see that being a franchise albatross at all.
In what has to be the best job of hyping another person since the days when Flava Flav orbited around Chuck D, newly-acquired Miami Dolphins WR Tyreek Hill can’t stop praising third-year QB Tua Tagovailoa. The constant hype is good to see, but at the same time you end up being a bit annoyed; it’s not like Hill’s previous QB in KC was a slouch and as a point of intellectual integrity, I refuse to accept that Tagovailoa is anywhere near the QB that Patrick Mahomes is… so Tyreek, I love the enthusiasm bro. But tone it down, lest that young pup’s head gets filled with thoughts of being able to do more than he’s capable of doing.
I saw something in some article talking about how golfer Paige Spiranac made some statement on some topic of interest to NFL fans.
But for the life of me, I can’t remember what it was…
Hate to end this week’s column on a down note, but it was announced this week that Super Bowl-winning MVP QB and Hall of Famer Len Dawson has entered hospice care.
Dawson was a throwback quarterback, a tough guy who could fling the rock in an era when that really wasn’t done as much– his single-season Chiefs’ record for TD passes (30, set in just 14 games in 1964) lasted until 2018 when it was broken by Patrick Mahomes. He was also that old-school field general, like his contemporaries Bart Starr and Johnny Unitas, who understood Hank Stram’s offense and executed it to perfection.
But there’s a whole generation of NFL fans that never saw Dawson play a single down (I barely remember watching him play, as he retired in 1975); for many fans, he was famous for being one of the original hosts (along with Nick Buoniconti) of the innovative HBO show Inside the NFL from 1977 – 2001.
As Dawson enters hospice care and we all genuinely feel sadness for his situation, just remember this: no matter how badass you think you are, you’ll never be as awesomely badass as Len Dawson smoking a ciggy and enjoying a cool Fresca during halftime of the Super Bowl.